Save the Dal make plea to new Council

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The campaign group hoping to keep the Dalriada Hospital has made an impassioned appeal to the Causeway Coast and Glens council for support.

Representing the Save the Dal group, Colin Stutt gave a presentation outlining how good practice carried out in the Highlands of Scotland and in Cornwall in England could be implemented locally to keep the Dalriada Hospital open.

Responding to the proposals, Coleraine DUP Councillor Sam Cole said: “It is always good to have the plight of our local health highlighted.

“The health service, throughout Northern Ireland as you well know, is being looked at in a revolutionary fashion.

“We need to target the funding that is available and we need to give the most relevant, holistic solution to our health problems. You rightly said people are living longer. I welcome your views but I feel under qualified to really comment on what you propose.

“We in Coleraine have our own issues with the retention of the Causeway Hospital - it is not a parish pump issue.

“It is a holistic issue that we need to look at right across the Causeway Coast and Glens. I think it is giving a bit of weight to one side of the council.

“I admire your enthusiasm for trying to retain the services in your area. I welcome your input, it makes sense to me but I just hope that the advisers that sit alongside the Minister, Simon Hamilton, will agree with them.”

Ballymoney Sinn Féin Councillor Philip McGuigan said: “This is much more serious than a parish pump issue.

“I got elected by the good citizens of Dunloy, Rasharkin, Cloughmills and Loughgiel but I’m intelligent enough to realise that I now represent the Causeway Coast and Glens Council and as such there are issues that may not be situated in a geographical area of electoral importance for myself.

“I know that Moyle council supported and gave great support to the campaign and I would hope that the Causeway Coast and Glens would give the same level of support.

“In terms of the three recommendations I see no reason why the council shouldn’t support these recommendations. “We are not the Minister - the Minister will make his own decision but in terms of my role I am quite capable of making my own decisions.

“One of the good things about the council and the new powers is that we will have responsibility to for community planning. This is the kind of issue that I see as crucial in terms of our job in producing a community plan that serves the citizens of this Borough.”