Derry Detox meeting with Minister ‘positive’ says bereaved teenager Tamzin

A young Derry woman who has been spearheading the reinvigorated campaign for a dedicated detox facility for Derry has described a meeting with Health Minister Robin Swann as “positive”.

Mr Swann travelled to Derry this morning to meet with Tamzin White, who lost her mother Louise to addiction back in January.

Following the tragic death of Louise O’Doherty White, which has left Tamzin and her two younger sisters without a mother, the 18-year-old has been campaigning tirelessly for better services to prevent other families having to go through the devastation her own and many others have gone through in the north west.

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Tamzin also organised a petition that was signed by almost 10,000 people and submitted on her behalf to the Health Minister several weeks ago by Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Karen Mullan.

Tamzin White with the Health Minister Robin Swann who travelled to Derry for the meeting.

Ms. Mullan and fellow Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan from the SDLP and Aontú Councillor Emmet Doyle were all present at the meeting this morning along with representatives from the Western Trust.

Speaking to the Journal after the meeting with Mr Swann, Tamzin said: “Overall it was positive. He is a lovely man and once I read out my story and what I needed to say, he said it was very powerful.

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“My opening sentence was that I have three different political parties there along with me and supporting me, and he corrected me and said, ‘Naw Tamzin you have four, meaning him as well, so that was also positive.”

Tamzin said that while the UUP Minister “didn’t say yes to a detox centre, he didn’t rule it out either”.

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Tamzin White, Health Minister Robin Swann, Foyle MLAs Karen Mullan and Mark H Durkan and Councillor Emmett Doyle along with Western Trust representatives.

“Mark Durkan told him our campaign is still going, and Emmett give him statistics and told him about the Council backing the call for a detox centre as well, and Karen pointed out to him the lack of detox services especially for women, so everyone done amazing on getting their point across,” Tamzin added.

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In a Tweet after the meeting, Foyle MLA Karen Mullan said: “Privileged to attend Tamzin White meeting with Minister Robin Swann along with Mark H Durkan and Emmet Doyle.

“To say I am proud of Tamzin is an understatement, I wish I had half her courage. Less than four months of losing her mum she is fighting for others #Derrydemandsdetox.”

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Colr. Doyle meanwhile said: “Successful meeting with the Minister. Tamzin White, as always was fantastic. The door is not closed, we just need to do some more to get there and make sure people know what services there are there at present. Gave Robin the Aontú paper which I know he’ll look over. Onwards!”