School site set for green light health centre

THE OLD Lisnaskea High School is being seriously considered as the site of the town’s much-needed new health centre.  
At the recent meeting of the Western Trust’s Pathfinder project in Lisnaskea deputy chief executive Kieran Downey said the Trust was considering the site as the location of the new centre, in response to a question from local resident John Cunningham. 
A new centre is desperately needed in Lisnaskea, where Maple Healthcare is currently catering for thousands of extra patients, due to the closure of nearby surgeries, in poor facilities. 
The site of the old school has been at the centre of some controversy in recent years, with both Bunscoil an Traonaigh and the South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF) seeking to acquire it. The site had been pledged to the Irish primary school more than three years ago, which is currently operating out of temporary accommodation, however this was delayed by DUP Education minister Peter Weir before the Stormont collapse. 
Lisnaskea MLA Sean Lynch, who has been supporting the school’s plans, said there was more than enough room for both the school and the new health centre and welcomed the possibility. 
 “I think it would be a good joint venture, as they are both community facilities. I have argued the both should be planned together,” said Mr Lynch.
He added: “If the health centre was going elsewhere I think it would be delayed because you’re going to be going for private land, securing the land, planning permission and so on.” 
Director of services at SEFF, Kenny Donaldson, said the group remained in discussions with the various departments, including Education and Health, “around realising a solution for the former Lisnaskea High School site which will deliver upon the needs of the population of south Fermanagh and surrounding hinterlands.”
“We are resolute and clear that the interests of our members and the diverse constituency which we serve will be central to any agreement reached,” said Mr Donaldson.
 Community worker Kathleen Breen said the people of Lisnaskea would be delighted with the old high school being used for the centre. 
“The health centre should’ve been there five years ago. It’s the ideal site, there is loads of room, there is plenty of space for plenty of facilities and they could make it a very good health care hub,” she said. 
The Trust has told the Herald it is currently updating its business case for the new centre, which should be completed within weeks, and was “undertaking an evaluation of a number of site options which will inform the final document.” 

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