Cross border appeal on new cancer centre

A cross border appeal has been made to the Republic’s new health minister to guarantee funding for Derry’s proposed cancer centre.

Dr James Reilly who was appointed to the post last week has been urged by Sinn Fein MLA Martin Anderson and Inishowen TD Padraig MacLochlainn to make the radiotherapy centre a top priority.

Ms Anderson said: “The previous Dublin government had committed funding for the construction and ongoing running costs of this facility. Pádraig MacLochlainn and I have now written to the new Minister Dr James Reilly to ensure that commitment is honoured.”

Fears that the cancer unit’s construction may be shelved were raised when the North’s Health Minister Michael McGimpsey said recently that his department had money to build the centre but not to run it. However, Ms Anderson added: “As we all know, the outgoing Minister in the North Michael McGimpsey has cast doubt on his commitment to the project but rest assured that Sinn Féin is absolutely determined to see this facility delivered. And whoever is the new Health Minister following the Assembly election will be left in no doubt that we expect it to be built on time and properly resourced into the future.”

Ms Anderson said the party will use its “enhanced strength” in the Republic to ensure the cancer centre goes ahead as planned. “This is a desperately needed facility which will help alleviate some of the suffering endured by cancer patients in the North West.”