Senator Maura Hopkins says she believes that further health resources will need to be made available to the Syrian refugees who are set to arrive in Ballaghaderreen shortly.
Senator Maura Hopkins was commenting following the news that €97,000 has been made available by the Department of Health to the HSE from the Dormant Accounts Fund to put in place health supports and interpretation facilities for the new residents of the Ballaghaderreen EROC.
Reflecting on recent events Senator Hopkins said “At my request, a meeting took place on Thursday 9th March between Minister for State at the Dept of Justice and Minister Simon Harris and officials from their Departments. This meeting was necessary because a very limited health budget was originally made available to support the centre and this was in no way sufficient to meet the needs of these people without impacting on local services.”
“I met with Tony Canavan, Chief Health Officer, Community Care Area 2 in February who emphasised to me the immediate need for additional funding for provision of additional health services to support the refugees in the Emergency Reception and Orientation Centre.”
Senator Hopkins went on to say “This has been a very serious issue that I have been devoting a lot of time to. I am very aware of the already severe pressure on our existing health services in Roscommon including primary care, mental health services, ambulance response times, staffing and recruitment issues, access to Emergency Departments. The additional health funding now provided as a result of this meeting will help secure necessary supports for these refugees.”
“Both Minister Stanton and Minister Harris have now informed me that the Health Service Executive has appointed a senior officer to liaise with the management of the EROC and coordinate the health service response to the clinical needs of the refugees.”
“The HSE has also commissioned Safetynet to operate the HSE’s new Mobile Screening Unit, funded through Dormant Accounts, which will provide a basic screening and assessment service on site for refugees in the initial period in Ballaghaderreen.”
“While this additional funding is positive, I believe that further health resources will need to be made available. Another meeting between Minister Stanton and Minister Harris on this issue is to take place the week beginning 19th March. I am working closely with both Ministers to ensure that they are both very aware of the practical realities on the ground regarding services for the Syrian refugees” she concluded.