Louth Deputy Gerry Adams has today raised with the Taoiseach the lack of accommodation for mental health services in Dundalk and north County Louth in general.
Speaking during Leaders Questions in the Dáil, Adams said:
“On Friday, along with my Louth Sinn Féin colleague Teachta Imelda Munster, I visited the Department of Psychiatry acute in-patient unit in Drogheda.
“This is a world class, state of the art facility which provides intensive short term treatment.
“Patients are then discharged to the community mental health staff for follow up care.
“However in North Louth, community-based psychiatric services are practically non-existent and all provision is delivered from a 60 year old building at Ladywell, Louth Hospital, Dundalk.
“Because of issues of damp and the lack of suitable space, much of Ladywell is unusable.
“This means that there is no Child and Adolescent Mental Health provision and no Psychiatry of Old Age in North Louth.
“Additional staff have been allocated to the area and I welcome that, but there is no accommodation for them in Dundalk.
“Unacceptably patients must travel, sometimes up to 60 kilometers, to Ardee or Drogheda to access these basic mental health services.
“There is a longstanding promise of a Primary Care Centre with a facility for community mental health for Dundalk.
“But there is no start date, nothing but a worthless promise which is used to excuse the refusal to upgrade Ladywell.
“I presented the Taoiseach with a choice, either deliver the Primary Care Centre as soon as possible or upgrade the building at Ladywell.
“I have asked both the Taoiseach and the Minister for Mental Health Helen McEntee to visit Ladywell to see first-hand how unsuitable the premises is.
“I will continue to raise this issue until the citizens of North Louth have access to necessary services in suitable premises in their own area.”