July 24, 2009

THORNTON HALL RULED OUT FOR UNITS

St Ita's Hospital in Portrane

CONCERNED residents in Portrane should get their answer soon on whether the HSE plans to redevelop the Central Mental Hospital to the grounds of St Ita's Hospital.

Following exclusive reports in the Fingal Independent about the possible move and concerns expressed by the Donabate Portrane Community Council (DPCC), the local authority is to write to the HSE on the issue.

Relocate

Cllr Gerry McGuire (Lab), asked Fingal County Council to establish whether the HSE had plans to relocate the institution to St Ita's or any other site in Fingal. Fingal County Council replied to the councillor saying: 'Following recent publicity on this matter, the HSE have been contacted as a matter of urgency to ascertain the up-todate position. Their response will be circulate to all councillors.

Minister for Health, Mary Harney TD, has already confirmed that her department will no longer be siting the secure psychiatric institution at Thornton Hall and speculation has been mounting it could be moved to St Ita's Hospital.

In response to a recent parliamentary question tabled by Labour's Senator Brendan Ryan, the minister noted a 'number of difficulties' had emerged with the initial proposed site at Thornton Hall. ' The HSE has identified a need for an intellectual disability forensic mental health unit and a child and adolescent forensic mental health unit,' she said. '

'Neither of these units would be viable as a stand-alone facility and they should be co-located with the CMH, but the 20 acre site at Thornton Hall is not large enough to allow for these additional developments. The DPCC expressed their 'serious concerns' over reports Portrane was now being proposed for the facilities. A DPCC spokesperson said: ' The area wouldn't seem sustainable because there is no police station, no general facilities and the transport infrastructure in the area is woefully inefficient. Portrane is too small and there is nothing in it.' The community council has written its own letter to the minister, asking for clarification on the issue.

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