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Minister says she did not approve wording of letter telling residents methadone clinic would not open

The newsletter style document was issued to residents with update on the proposals for a methadone clinic at Ballinteer Health Centre.

Minister Josepha Madigan
Minister Josepha Madigan
Image: Leah Farrell

CULTURE MINISTER Josepha Madigan claims she did not approve a letter issued to her constituents, which confirmed a methadone clinic would not open in her constituency, after she lobbied the Department of Health. 

The newsletter style document was issued to residents recently and provided an update on the proposals for a methadone clinic at Ballinteer Health Centre. 

It stated: “I am pleased to reassure local residents that following representations from my office to the Department of Health, I have been informed that a new methadone clinic will not be developed… as existing services are adequate. 

“I know many people were concerned about this prospect following the closure of the methadone clinic in Baggot Street. This health centre is used by many local residents and would not be suitable as a methadone clinic.”

It sparked criticism as the minister appeared to be reassuring residents that her representations had helped ensure the centre would not open. 

A spokesperson for the minister said she was simply providing “an update on the issue” and that Madigan supported the provision of health services by the HSE. 

“The minister fully supports the provision of health services by the Health Services Executive, including methadone services for those requiring them in their community,” they said. 

“After this issue was raised with her by a number of constituents in January, she asked the HSE to clarify its plans. 

“It confirmed that existing services are adequate. The recent letter to constituents, the wording of which did not receive prior approval before sending, provides and update on the issue.”

Ir prompted criticism from a number of medical professionals who say the provision of methadone’s are necessary to avoid overdoses. 

Dublin GP, Dr Mark Murphy described it as “shocking from a FG minister. Actually celebrating the removal of a healthcare service for a vulnerable patient group”.

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