Chairman’s Diary 29/12/14

31 12 2014

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 As stated in last week’s Diary, the confirmation that as a result of the interim relief achieved in the judicial review process, the proposal to ‘temporarily close’ Dalriada hospital had been withdrawn and that the Department of Health had instructed the Northern Health and Social Care Trust not to proceed with the public consultation was the Christmas present the community had so much wanted. The spirits of the Dalriada Hospital community, patients, staff, doctors, nurses and the wider community were once again lifted.

 It was great to hear of the new admissions of patients to the Dalriada hospital and the return of some of the staff who had been redeployed. All 32 beds in the unit are now available for Intermediate Care and MS Respite; it will be wonderful news when full capacity is achieved.

 Everyone associated with the campaign is fully aware that the efforts to maintain services at Dalriada Hospital will remain a long term fight. The so called ‘Stormont House’ deal achieved on Christmas Eve smacks of poor strategic vision, it may have served to break a political impasse but has very dangerously attempted to resolve complex budgetary and welfare issues by increased borrowing. Central to the all of the thinking behind the deal is the achievement of a balanced budget for 2015-16. In layman’s terms the Department of Health and the Northern Health and Social Care Trust will be asked to balance their books by March 2016, it is therefore important that we continue to maintain our momentum and focus on longer term solutions which include Dalriada Hospital as an integral part of health service delivery within that overall context. The Community campaign must remain strong as we concentrate on future service provision.

 Moyle Council had agreed to appoint a consultant in order to formulate the community response to the proposed consultation; Council has since agreed that the consultant can now begin to work with the professionals and the community to develop a paper to bring to the Northern Health and Social Care Trust and the Health Minister on how services can be maintained, developed and improved at Dalriada. We need to convince the Health Minister that future investment in Dalriada Hospital would do much to maintain and improve health service provision. The Health Minister and the Trust need to see Dalriada Hospital as part of their strategic vision and realise its potential for the creation of a spectrum of services which can be locally accessed in an efficient and economic way.


I would encourage as many people as possible to attend the parade on Saturday 3th January 2015, which is designed to mark the New Year and our continued resolve to see Dalriada as a centre of medical excellence. The parade will leave the Dalriada hospital car park at 1.00pm and will proceed to the sea front before returning to the Diamond. We are keen that all local sports clubs, scouts, Boys and Girls Brigade line out in their uniforms and club colours. We are also encouraging people to dress in fancy dress so that it will be a colourful, family, community parade. To date, all of the events have been attended in great numbers, so let us make sure that Saturday is another reminder that “we are no soft touch” and that the issue is as important as ever. Please make the necessary arrangements to be there in big numbers.

 Lisa Black

 The death of any young person is a tragedy, and in the mouth of Christmas even more tragic. However there was something inspirational about the funeral mass for Lisa Black on Christmas Eve. 36 year old Lisa the daughter of my former Councillor colleague Madeline Black had lost her battle with cancer, a battle which she faced with great inner strength and defiance.To a packed chapel, the priest spoke so eloquently of Lisa’s enormous strength and determination, throughout her life, career and latterly her illness, and how she had inspired so many others. In his personal tribute he referred to the words Lisa had published on her facebook page back in September which summed up her attitude to life and it’s many challenges when she wrote.“When something bad happens – you have three choices. You can let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.” A quotation as challenging as it is inspirational.

 New Year   

 As 2015 approaches, we are aware of the many changes and challenges ahead of the communities of Moyle. I would ask that we continue to work hard for our towns and villages for the vitality of our neighborhoods, our local businesses, our schools and our churches, in the strength of our families, our diversity, our young people and our senior citizens.  We are inspired by the community service of countless residents.  We believe that when our area works together as we did in the hospital campaign we can overcome the challenges we face and that together we will continue to make Moyle a better place. I wish you and your loved ones a truly happy, peaceful, healthy and prosperous New Year.

 This week’s Quiz Question (answer next week):  How many gifts were given in total in the ’12 days of Christmas’?

 Last week’s Answer: Jacob Marley was Scrooge’s dead business partner In Charles Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol.

You can follow Dónal on twitter @CllrDonalC or contact Dónal at, or 07745168922




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