By Donal Hickey, Kerry
WORK on a long-awaited extension to Kenmare Community Hospital will not commence this year, the Health Service Executive (HSE) has confirmed.
The project has been delayed for six years and there was disappointment at the announcement in the area, yesterday.
The cost of extending the hospital, which serves a large, scattered district of South Kerry, was estimated at IR£2 million in 2000. The plan is to increase capacity from 26 beds to 40.
The delay is due to competing demands for capital funding, including other significant capital projects in the Kerry area, which will require investment in 2006.
In the Dáil this week, Kerry South Labour TD Breeda Moynihan-Cronin attacked the Government for holding up the project, which was first committed to in 2000.
Junior Health Minister Tim O’Malley said the extension was part of the HSE capital programme for the period, 2006-2010.
Ms Moynihan-Cronin said the extension was badly needed, adding that the population of Kenmare had risen by over 30% since 1996.