Cllrs Dermot Curran and Cadogan Enright on the Downshire Complex
Cllrs Dermot Curran and Cadogan Enright on the Downshire Complex

Councillors Cadogan Enright and Dermot Curran are seeking renewed Council support for their long-running battle to secure a ‘fit for purpose’ bus service to the New Downshire Campus including the Hospital, A&E, local doctors surgeries, the Housing Executive, the Council itself and other existing and future  agencies slated for Downpatrick’s Public Sector Campus.

Cllr Enright said “We are seeking a fresh clear mandate to tackle the Trust and seek support for Translink on this issue by way of ‘notice of motion’ at the next council meeting. We have been working to secure access for a decent service for 3 years. The Ardglass bus and the Downpatrick Town busses still can’t get onto the site. We have so far succeeded in getting only an occasional service from the ‘town bus’ which alone is small enough get past the obstacles blocking the site”.

Cllr Dermot Curran said “A year has passed since the Trust promised alterations to the site to allow access by the Ardglass bus route and to facilitate the Knocknashinna bus or to allow the Town bus up though the site to access the Housing Executive or new Council Buildings. This leaves our local Hospital as the only one in the South Eastern area or the Belfast area without access to a decent bus service or access to a bus station” .

“It is astonishing that a cross-departmental group of highly-paid public servants could have met for 6 years to plan the creation of the Public Sector Campus on the Ardglass Road, and so comprehensively ignored all submissions by Translink or Councillors like Cadogan and myself  on the need for public transport. There should be no need to alter the site to accommodate buses; the Campus should have been built correctly from day 1.” Continued Cllr Curran.

The Down Recorder has previously reported on comments from a survey of patients attending one of the new doctor surgeries at the Downe. Comments included “direct bus service non-existent” … “my worst problem is transport”  . . .”not convenient, no transport, have to depend on neighbors” … “bus service no good, almost no buses”.

This motion co-insides with a press release this week from the voice of patients in Northern Ireland, the ‘Patient Client Council’, supported by the Consumer Council and Transport Minister Kennedy and Health Minister Poots highlighting ‘Transport Issues in Accessing Health and Social Care’ in which it is alleged that the Health System in NI loses £2.2 million per annum in missed appointments due to lack or transport, with one in five patients being affected by lack of transport to hospital.

“Minister Poots seems to be agreeing with what Dermot and I have been saying for years. Aside from poor service to the public, it makes no logical sense for the Trust to continue to block proposals from Translink to get a ‘fit for purpose’ bus service on-site. If Translinks proposals were executed correctly, it might not even cost the Trust a penny in additional cost. The Council, the Housing Executive and all the other public sector bodies on the Campus must be accessable for those without transport and the Downe deserves services comparable with Lagan Valley, the Ulster or Belfast” concluded Cllr Cadogan Enright.

10 /05 / 2013 Report Finds a Fifth of Respondents Miss a Health Appointment Due to Transport Issues

A fifth of people surveyed had missed an appointment and almost a quarter have cancelled an appointment due to issues with transport, according to a report published today by the Consumer Council and Patient and Client Council.

Pictured at the launch of the Transport Issues in Accessing Health and Social Services Report are Edwin Poots, Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety; Antoinette McKeown, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council ; Maeve Hully, Chief Executive of the Patient and Client Council and Danny Kennedy, Minister for Regional Development.The report ‘Transport Issues in Accessing Health and Social Care’ captures the experiences of people travelling to and from health and social care facilities and was launched by Edwin Poots, Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety and Danny Kennedy, Minister for Regional Development at Stormont.

The report has also found that missed appointments due to transport issues could be costing the health service up to £2.2 million per year.

In a joint statement Maeve Hully, Chief Executive of the Patient and Client Council and Antoinette McKeown, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council said “People rely on a range of transport options to access health and social care services and it is vitally important that people are able to attend appointments on which their health and wellbeing depend.”

“This report shows that missed appointments not only impact on people’s wellbeing, they also have a significant financial impact on our health and social care services. One solution to this problem has to be greater joined up working with the relevant bodies and more inclusion of travel information with patient appointment letters.”

The Consumer Council and Patient and Client Council will continue to work together to address the issues raised in this report and seek improvements to transport access to health and social care services to reduce the personal and financial cost of missed appointments.





  • Citybus 4a every 15 minutes, half of them go onto Dundonald and half use the turning circle to head back to Belfast
  • Route 5 from Ards, 7 from Donaghadee and 11/9 from Portaferry run at least hourly and combine to make a service between NewtonArds and the Ulster of every 20 minutes minimum. (ends up in Laganside)
  • Bus’s also exist from Killyleagh, Comber and Ballygowan but unfortunately the routes were not designed to take the location of the Hospital into account before heading up the same road to Belfas


  • 5 minutes walk from Bus Station in Lisburn
  • Belfast connection every 15 minutes
  • Hospital bus stop on route 38 with buses to/from Newry, Banbridge, Hillsboro and Dromore every 15 minutes at peak dropping to hourly at night and weekends
  • Rural bus subsidised by ‘Rural Transport Fund’ runs 3 times a day from Newcastle, Ballynahinch direction – not likely to last in the longer term


  • Downpatrick Bus Station connected to over half the towns in the Trust
  • 15-minutely shuttle-bus from bus station to Hospital promised by Trust as part of new hospital project – but was cancelled near the end of the Hospital build project
  • 30 minute walk from bus station to hospital
  • Local campaigners have succeeded in getting one of the 2 ‘town services’ to go to the hospital at the ‘bottom of every hour’, but very inadequate (315a)
  • Ardglass to Downpatrick bus (and other rural services) pass the Downeshire site but can’t get access as entrance is obstructed.
  • Clearly access to the Downe is not satisfactory


  • Surgeries moved up to Downeshire in last few weeks
  • Large number of public servants being relocated to the Downeshire over the coming year.
  • See constructive letter from Translink/Ulsterbus



Legally binding Article 122 Agreements were proposed in the years of planning preceding the creation of the ‘Down Public Sector Campus’. Down Council committed to pay £200,000, the Health Trust paying £500,000 and the PSNI £200,000.  This was to resolve the anticipated traffic problems associated with the development of the site. The SE Trust has since renaged ón this committment. The Roads Service considered the following measures necessary immediately:-


St Patrick’s Avenue/Vianstown Road (Cinema Link)  DONE

Junction improvements at Ardglass Road/Ballyhornan Road minor improvement done – not what was expected

Junction improvements at Ardglass road/Killough Road

Junction improvements at Collins Corner

Junction improvements at St Patrick’s Avenue/Market Street

Town Centre Link road

Town Centre one-way system