Sinn Fein MLA for Foyle and Chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee, Maeve McLaughlin, has called for cross-border support to transform the White Oaks Rehabilitation into a fully functional detoxification centre.
Ms. McLaughlin spoke to the Journal after visiting the facility which resides near the border between Derry and Donegal.
“Whilst there is much debate about the need for a detox facility, we have a centre built for this, yet it is not in operation due to lack of a cross border commitment,” said Ms. Laughlin.
The Foyle MLA went on to claim that health departments in the North and South of Ireland are failing in their obligation to work together under the Good Friday Agreement.
“Health is an area of cooperation as part of the Good Friday Agreement and both health departments are failing in this responsibility whilst this detox centre is not in use.
“Addiction is a major issue across the island - people struggle with addiction issues daily - it is estimated that alcohol issues cost the economy on the island £800m every year.”
Ms. Laughlin said the recently set-up North West Addiction Taskforce will continue to make sure the issue of a local detoxification centre remains at the fore.
“The North West addiction taskforce will continue to lobby for this facility,” she said.
“I have contacted Donegal TDs Pádraig Mac Lochlainn and Pearse Doherty to arrange a joint meeting with both health authorities at the White Oaks Rehabilitation Centre on the Derry/Donegal border.”