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Saturday, September 24, 2022

Fears raised over future of SouthDoc service in Fermoy

Concern over the future of SouthDoc medical cover in one North Cork town and the lack of early morning buses for commuters in another dominated debate at a recent meeting of the county council’s Northern Division.

Fears have again been raised the SouthDoc service in Fermoy could be relocated to either Midleton or Glanmire, while councillors say the lack of an early morning bus service for people in the Charleville area must be addressed as a matter of urgency.

The SouthDoc issue was raised by Fianna Fáil councillor Frank O’Flynn, who has called on the HSE to outline its future long-term plans for the service and commit to retaining it in Fermoy.

“Given the rumours that have been flying around, it’s hardly surprising people are concerned for its future and I am requesting that this committee write to the HSE seeking a long-term commitment from them that the SouthDoc service will be retained in Fermoy,” Mr O’Flynn said.

‘Critically important’

He was supported by colleagues, including Fianna Fáil councillor Deirdre O’Brien who said it is “critically important” this service remain in Fermoy. 

“You can’t expect sick people to travel extra distances to seek out of hours treatment,” she said.

Fine Gael councillor Noel McCarthy said the HSE had said there are “no plans to close the service at this time”.

“But that’s not a firm commitment. To me, a firm commitment would be to say there were no plans whatsoever to close the service. That is what we as councillors want and what the people of North Cork want,” Mr McCarthy said.

‘Toying with emotions’

Fianna Fáil councillor Willie O’Leary wondered if the HSE is deliberately putting out a feeler to gauge public reaction to the possible closure of the service. 

“If that’s the case, they need to stop toying with people’s emotions. They need to nip these rumours in the bud by clarifying exactly what the future plans are for the service,” he said.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil councillor Ian Doyle said the lack of an early morning bus service for people in the Charleville area travelling to Cork and Limerick must be addressed as a matter of urgency.

He won total support from fellow councillors to write to Bus Éireann and Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to urgently address the anomaly.

Mr Doyle said the problem had taken on “a new urgency” following the recent issue of CAO offers to students.

“We are all aware of the cost of accommodation in both cities, that’s even if you can secure somewhere in the first place. This, combined with the need to reduce our carbon footprint, highlights the need for a more frequent and reliable bus service for students living in the Charleville area. Unfortunately, students from the locality are not being facilitated by the current bus service, which only starts at 8am for the Cork service and 8.20am for the Limerick service,” he said.

He pointed out this means students travelling to both cities will not be able to make it to their respective colleges in time for 9am classes and lectures.

“For the sake of both students and commuters who need to get to their respective destinations on time this needs to be followed up and an early morning service for Charleville put in place as soon as possible,” Fine Gael councillor John Paul O’Shea said.

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