Taoiseach highlights cross-border treatment for Donegal patients in Stormont speech

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar highlighted the fact that Donegal patients can get treatment in Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry as an example of  north-south cooperation and said he hopes that will continue with the new Executive. 

The Fine Gael leader made the comment at Stormont this morning where he met the leaders of the new northern Executive alongside British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak. 

The new Executive was formed at Stormont on Saturday after the DUP ended its two-year boycott of the power-sharing institutions. 


The Executive is led by First Minister Michelle O’Neill who made history by becoming the first nationalist or republican to hold the office. 

Speaking in the Great Hall of Parliament Buildings in Belfast, the Taoiseach said he hoped unionist ministers on the Executive will continue to deliver on all-Ireland initiatives.  

“It is important we set up a new North South Ministerial Council in the next couple of weeks and that north-south sectoral meetings happen as well where ministers in Stormont meet with their counterparts in the Republic. That is where we will try to get things moving. 

“We have seen unionist ministers achieve a lot when it comes to things like the health service; for example, the fact that we have cardiac care for people from Donegal in Altnagelvin and that children who need heart surgery can get it in Dublin. 

“It was unionist ministers who helped to make that happen and I would like to see that kind of cooperation on practical issues in the next couple of months,” the Taoiseach said. 

In 2016 a deal was struck between the Western Health and Social Care Trust and Saolta on cross border cardiology services which allowed patients from Donegal to be treated for certain cardiac health problems in Altnagelvin rather than travelling to Dublin or Galway. 

It followed a deal in 2011 on cross-border cancer care, partly funded by the Dublin government, which meant some Donegal cancer patients could receive treatment at Altnagelvin hopsital in Derry. 


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