Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal, Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher Leas Cheann Comhairle, has criticised the Government for diverting funds from the Department of Transport to facilitate the cost overruns of the National Children’s Hospital. It also transpires and is confirmed by Government that three Community Hospitals have also been deferred by the Government and serious doubt now exists as to whether these will ever progress.

 Pat the Cope stated “Due to significant overspend at the National Children’s Hospital it appears the North West Region will bear the brunt of the overspend. €27 million, identified for the A5 dual carriageway, has been moved to meet the increasing overspend. We are also going to be hit with cuts in our community hospital sector.

 “Donegal as a county does not have motorway access to the major cities on the island and our future growth and prosperity was totally reliant on this road network being delivered. The current A5/N2 road network is in need of urgent upgrading and the current road is no longer fit for purpose.

 “Two weeks ago, Minister Ross confirmed to me that the roads grant budget for Donegal has been decreased. Donegal county has one of the top five road networks in the country in terms of mileage, but funding never reflects that reality. Now, even more funding has been taken away from our roads as the A5 project is delayed again. The Governments strategy towards Donegal is one of continual neglect and removal of funds at present

 “Today, Minister Joe McHugh has confirmed on local radio that works on three Donegal Community Hospitals has also been deferred due to this Governments mismanagement of the Children’s Hospital project. This is a shocking decision, especially in the context that today (13th of February) is the third anniversary of the original march by the communities served by these three respective hospitals – on that occasion thousands of people took to the street to protest at the then Government decision to downgrade the three hospitals.

 “As a county it seems at this stage that we are bearing the maximum level of these cuts being imposed by the entire Cabinet. The Governments has hit Donegal the hardest following their mismanagement of the Children’s Hospital project. Roads projects delayed, Community Hospitals deferred before they start and perhaps even more cuts are to follow when the full details of these cuts are revealed.  It is self-evident that no one is wearing the Donegal jersey around the Cabinet Table at present,” concluded Pat the Cope.