Moyle backs hospital anniversary painting

MOYLE Council has agreed to give £100 funding towards a painting to mark the contribution the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine.

The request for money to buy a painting came in from The New Hospital Group who led a campaign back in the 1990s to get the Causeway Hospital up and running.

Moyle councillors were told Coleraine Council was in the process of pledging £300 and Ballymoney are considering a similar amount.

Moyle Ulster Unionist councillor Willie Graham said they should give £300 and Independent councillor Seamus Blaney said he would support it as it is a “one-off”.

Sinn Fein councillor Cara McShane thought £300 was “a bit much” considering that Coleraine is a bigger Council than Moyle.

She said they only give £100 to community groups in their own district of Moyle and she said people who may have had negative experiences at the hospital given its “teething problems” in the early years and others now having to pay carparking charges at the hospital may be opposed to £300 funding.

She said it could be a “bit shallow to be throwing over £300” at a painting.

Ulster Unionist councillor Helen Harding said she would be a lot happier if the money was going for something that would be of benefit to patients.

Independent councillor Randal McDonnell said anyone wanting to look at the painting will have to pay in the hospital carpark for the pleasure of doing so.

Cllr McShane proposed £100 and that was seconded by Cllr Blaney.

Wesley McGowan of the New Hospital Campaign Group, in a letter to Moyle Council said: ‘Some time ago a group of local doctors formed the New Hospital Group and, supported by the three local councils, ran a campaign to bring together the four local hospitals into one new hospital, the Causeway Hospital, which opened in April 2001, ie ten years ago.

‘During the campaign both sides of our dividied community united behind the idea and this proved to be a concept which strengthened the acceptance by the powers that be of our proposal.

‘This became enshrined in our logo, incidentally developed through a schools’ competition won by a pupil from Loreto, Coleraine. COMBINHE: Coleraine, Moyle & Ballymoney in new hospital enterprise.

‘During the campaign lots of public money was raised including financial support from the three councils. Recently the Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary, myself, of the NHCG met to discuss what to do with the balance of those monies, almost £2,000.

‘We agreed that an appropriate piece of art appeared to be the best way to commemorate the campaign and its supporters so I was given the task of taking the initiative forward.

‘Accordingly I met with the hospital artscare group and proposed a picture which would represent the concept of ‘COMBIHNE’ which they supported and have put together an application to commission such a piece of art; perhaps an appropriate year to do so viz the tenth anniversry of the hospital opening.

‘At that meeting it was suggested that even a small increase in the amount of money could make a significant difference to the type of painting to be commissioned, so it was proposed that I approach each of the councils to seek their help. I have already met the CEO of Coleraine Council who has in principle offered his support and if I could meet with your CEO to discuss this proposal further it would be much appreciated,” said Mr McGowan’s letter.