By Cronan Scanlon
A FINAL planning application is to be submitted shortly for a proposed new €4 million medical training school at Letterkenny General Hospital (LGH).
The HSE has already been granted permission for one part of the ambitious project, which is being part-funded by the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), to the tune of €2 million.
However the second phase, which will include an auditorium to seat 250 and a library to accommodate 60 students, is being funded locally.
Over the past five months, the HSE has not responded to the numerous queries in relation to the project submitted by the Donegal News.
However, the chairman of the Donegal Clinical Academy Trust, Mr Henry McGarvey, revealed yesterday (Thursday) that the designs for the second phase are at an advanced stage.
“We are currently working with the architects on our part of the project. The designs have almost been finalised, and when they are ready, we will get agreement from the HSE before submitting a formal planning application,” Mr McGarvey said.
Last November, Letterkenny Town Council granted permission for an 11,000 square foot section of the proposed new school which will be connected to the old hospital by a covered walkway.
This paper first reported in September 2011, that senior officials in the HSE along with senior businessmen and friends of the hospital were putting plans in place to build a comprehensive medical education and research facility.
NUIG is to contribute €2 million to the overall cost and a further €200,000 was donated by the late Donegal born millionaire, Hugh Green, who passed away in New Zealand in 2012.
“Fund-raising for our part of the project will start once permission has been granted,” Mr McGarvey explained.
“We have already received a substantial donation from the Hugh Green Foundation as well as a separate donation from a nursing foundation. Those donations will allow us to proceed to the planning stage.
“Planning permission has already been granted for part of the academy, which is being funded by NUIG, but we, as a trust, will have to raise funds for the auditorium and library.”
The expanded facilities of the new school of medicine will offer a state-of-the-art teaching and learning centre which will become the base for students who are currently scattered in cramped and aged facilities across the LGH campus.
LGH is currently a full university affiliated teaching hospital.
The figures, released to Councillor Ciaran Brogan this week, show an increase of 13.3% on the previous year.