Here is text of some of my speech made in support of a motion at Junes Council meeting – 24th July 2013

” I have copied you all with a press statement last month supported by Ministers Poots and Kennedy regarding the importance of public transport in accessing health care.

Dermot and I attended the launch earlier this year by Minister Poots of the GP clinics up at the Downe Hospital. We were well aware of the dissatisfaction expressed by patients who had previously been able to access the GP clinics on foot, now having to travel out to the Downe with inadequate public transport.

Cllrs Curran and Enright at New Hospital
Cllrs Curran and Enright at New Hospital

We witnessed the Minister commenting unfavourably on public transport up to the Downe and it appeared he had been briefed that Translink were responsible for this situation.

But Dermot and I have attended several meetings over 3 years in which we have witnessed Translink bringing positive proposals forward, and not being facilitated by the Trust in developing a service across the site.

We were present 14 months ago when the Trust agreed to facilitate Translink with 2 new bus stops and to be able to circulate around the site between them. The Trust are still dragging their heels in this matter.

Likewise Translinks proposals to reorganise local services and try and build up from 6 buses a day, to  about 20 per day have not been facilitated.

Translink is even offering a reduced fare for the trip to the Downe for people with a return ticket from places like Newcastle, Belfast or Strangford.

We all know how tight parking is now getting on the front side of the site during the day

We have all heard complaints from people without cars and the elderly who are having trouble accessing the Downe, and have to pay for a taxi to access the site.

I would urge you to support the motion”.


Notice of Motion

Public transport access to Downe Hospital and Downshire Civic Centre.

“Recognising the link between the provision of public transport and take-up of hospital services Council supports the necessary improvements to public sector transport serving Downe Hospital and Downshire Estate Downpatrick recommended by Translink. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) acknowledges the role proper public transport can play in promoting health.  Gasworks/Belfast city centre shuttle Bus  offers an example of how a public sector centre can be linked by public transport to a town centre.

Clerk and Chief Executive should write to Chief Executive of South Eastern HealthTrust, Hugh McCaughey, to ask the Trust to actively support the recent initiative by Translink to increase the accessibility and frequency of the bus service serving both the Downe Hospital and Downshire Civic Centre sites.”