Offaly councillor vows to continue fight for return of out of hours GP service

Karen O'Grady


Karen O'Grady


Offaly's only female councillor reflects on a year in local government

Clare Claffey (Social Democrats) in the Offaly County Council chamber

A local councillor vowed to continue to fight for the return of Birr's Midoc out of hours GP service, writes Karen O'Grady.

This week, Cllr Clare Claffey noted it was two years since she met with the then Minister for Health, Simon Harris in Dail Eireann and presented him with the petition to restore the Midoc services in Birr.

The petition was coordinated and delivered by Cllr Claffey, Social Democratic councillor for the Birr EA after the Birr Midoc services shut its doors without warning earlier in April 2018. It was hand-delivered to Simon Harris, TD, with the help of Catherine Murphy, TD, co leader of the Social Democrats in April 2019.

In April 2018, the closure of the out of hours GP services caused outrage across south and west Offaly with dismay expressed at the news. The service was established in the west Offaly region in December 2002.

This week, Cllr Claffey again pointed out that the area “still don't have an out of hours doctors services” but at least the issue is still on the agenda. “And, we do have a commitment from the HSE that space for out of hours doctors will be provided in the new Primary Care Centre in Birr,” she wrote.

According to the Banagher based councillor, the progress with that has “been frustratingly slow too”. “However, I will keep onto them every chance I get and wouldn't be letting this go until we have our new primary care centre and out of hours GP service restored to the town of Birr,” she concluded.