Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson and Cork North-Central TD Billy Kelleher has said it is extremely frustrating to see an essential cystic fibrosis respiratory ward lying idle at Cork University Hospital.  €2.3m was spent on the 20-bed unit which has been completed since the start of the year.

Deputy Kelleher raised the matter in the Dáil with Minister Kathleen Lynch this afternoon.

Deputy Kelleher said: “The HSE had plenty of advanced notice that this facility was coming on stream and did not properly plan to have staff in place to ensure it could open.  The Minister said today that she has taken an active interest in this matter but the simple fact of the matter is we should not be in this position.  It is outrageous that a state-of-the-art 20-bed facility would be left closed to the medical needs of patients with CF.

“I appreciate that there is a natural lead-in time for successful candidates to take up their roles but the HSE knew for a very long time when this facility was going to be completed and how much staff would be needed to operate it.

“As far back as February this year we were under the impression that progress had been made between the HSE and the cystic fibrosis charity Build4Life but this does not seem to have yielded any substantial move to get the unit opened.  I want to pay tribute to Joe Browne and the work he has been doing on this with Build4Life, it is extremely important we see this facility brought into use as soon as possible.  However frankly I’m left to believe that the HSE are now deliberately dragging their feet on this which is making matters worse and that is simply not good enough.”