Portiuncula delay fuels fears over fate of extension

Portiuncula Hospital.

Plans to build a new 50-bed extension of Portiuncula Hospital have stalled, fuelling fears the project will not proceed at all.

The proposal to extend the Ballinasloe hospital was first announced in February 2013, and it was re-announced again in 2016.

However, there has been little progress since leading to concerns that the project has been side-lined. The delays impact on refurbishment plans for existing beds at Portiuncula.

Workers in Portiuncula viewed the announcement of an extension as a vote of confidence in the future of the facility, which has down through the years been the subject of downgrading fears. But the lack of progress is a concern locally.

“People are afraid that the extension won’t go ahead, and that the money earmarked for this project in Ballinasloe, will be diverted to Galway. There is a crisis in the public hospital system in the city, and people are afraid that Portiuncula’s extension will be scrapped,” said Galway East Fianna Fáil TD, Anne Rabbitte.

Deputy Rabbitte said the Portiuncula extension should proceed because Ballinasloe could be used to help alleviate the pressures on the public hospital system in the city.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.