Retention of MS Centre at Dalriada

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SDLP councillors have pressed for the retention of the MS Centre at Dalriada Hospital.

They are reacting to well-founded reports that the future of the Centre is under consideration by the Northern Health Trust. Councillors Catherine McCambridge and Madeline Black have expressed their shock at this development.

Cllr Catherine McCambridge said: "Rumours are running through the community about an impending closure of the MS unit and there is a lot of concern about that. We do not want to see any reduction in the medical facilitities in Ballycastle. Those who use this facillity are high in their praise of it.

Cllr Madeline Black agreed explained: "We have recently seen the loss of the X-ray unit at Dalriada. My concern is that as each bit of service is withdrawn, that puts the remaining provision at greater risk. This is the time to call a halt to any reduction of front-line service at Dalriada. We have contacted our MLA, Declan O'Loan, to make representations to the Trust on our behalf.

SDLP MLA Declan O'Loan added: "I have contacted the Trust about this matter and I can confirm that the future of the MS facility at Dalriada is under consideration. There is likely to be a consultation on the matter shortly. I have discussed the situation with the Chief Executive of the Trust. This is a regional facility and MS sufferers from across Northern Ireland are placed there for respite care.

"In a situation where we are constantly pushing for decentralisation of public services, I believe that there is a strong case for the retention of such a facility in Ballycastle. This is an example which proves that niche functions of public bodies can be successfully located in a place such as Ballycastle. I will argue for the retention and development of this facility."