Louth Sinn Féin Cllr Anne Campbell
Sinn Féin Councillor Anne Campbell has called on the HSE to refurbish the Births, Deaths and Marriages office in Dundalk, whilst also welcoming news of it's reopening after a temporary closure in the spring.
The office, located at Louth County Hospital, closed for a period of three weeks in April due to what the HSE called staff shortages. It reopened before the end of that month and now Campbell, a member of the North East Regional Health Forum, has received confirmed the opening hours are to be extended.
"They are extending the appointment service on Tuesdays and Friday afternoons (from) 2pm – 4pm," she said "That is to be welcomed and will be coming into force from June 11th.”
At the moment, the opening hours for the walk-in service are Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:30am to 12:30pm and from 2pm – 3pm. Presently, appointments only slots are available on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays between 9.30am and 12:15pm and on Thursday afternoons from 2pm – 4pm.
"I appreciate there was a staff shortage but I wonder if it had not been for pressure from Sinn Féin would the office have closed permanently?" Campbell asked this week.
The local representative has also urged the HSE to refurbish the office premises. "People who avail of the service have found themselves discussing sometimes quite private business in full public view of everyone and within earshot of others waiting to be seen," she said.
"Perhaps if they divided part of it off so that some privacy could be afforded if required, it may make life a bit easier for those dealing with more difficult requests.”