A “vital” medical service on Cork’s northside remains closed, but Taoiseach Micheál Martin has now given his commitment to follow up on a timeline for its reopening with the HSE.
Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central, Thomas Gould, has been calling for the reopening of Southdoc in Blackpool for a number of months.
It closed, along with several others across the county, during the Covid-19 pandemic as part of a consolidation of services. Mallow, Bandon, Bantry, Castletownbere, Midleton and Kinsale Road were the only centres that remained open.
However, all other SouthDoc services have since resumed, yet the Blackpool service remains shut. There were fears it would remain permanently closed.
Deputy Gould has now called on the Taoiseach to intervene, and started a petition calling for the centre's reopening which has garnered around 1,000 signatures.
Mr Gould said he welcomed the commitment of the Taoiseach who agreed to discuss the closure of Southdoc in Blackpool with the HSE.
“I started a petition last week calling on SouthDoc to reopen on the Northside of Cork city. This has gotten almost 1000 signatures.
“I contacted SouthDoc who said this has had no impact on service provision. Almost 1000 people would disagree.
“I have been in touch with the HSE. They are now saying that the closure is temporary but won’t give me a timeline,” Mr Gould said.
“The Taoiseach gave me a commitment to follow this up with the HSE. It is vital that this facility is reopened immediately.
“The comments on my petition show the real impact this is having. People are scared for their vulnerable parents and they can’t afford the unexpected expense of taxis to Southdoc in Kinsale road,” he added.
“The Taoiseach now needs to give a firm commitment to open this facility now.”