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16 Aug 2022

Getting local doctor or dentist ‘impossible’ — TD

Local access: Call for satellite campus of Maynooth University in Newbridge

Senan Hogan senan.hogan@iconicnews.ie

Getting a doctor or a denist appointment in County Kildare ‘is impossible’ — Sinn Féin TD Patricia Ryan claimed in the Dáil.

The South Kildare deputy was speaking in the chamber on June 2 during a debate on investment in higher eductation sector was led by Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris.

Ms Ryan referenced a general skills shortage in many sectors such as in local medical and dentistry clinics.

She said: “One only has to read a newspaper to know that we are experiencing a severe skills shortage.

“Trying to get an appointment for a doctor or a dentist in Kildare or Laois is impossible.

“I have people coming to me who have to go to Carlow for treatment.”

The TD also said she recently spoke about the challenges faced by the local bus services in Kildare.

She added: “One might wonder why but these people need to be trained.

“The staff shortages can be seen throughout the health services and they are a direct result of successive governments' indifferent attitude to education.

“We are in the peak of a housing crisis and need a massive increase in the building of public homes.

“The best time to invest in necessary skills was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.”

Ms Ryan also called for a satellite campus of Maynooth University in South Kildare.

She explained: “I visited Maynooth University recently.

“Every time I visit, there seems to be another building project ongoing.

“It is no wonder that it is Ireland's fastest growing university.

“I know our technical universities are multi-campus operations and I would love to see a satellite campus of Maynooth University in Newbridge or the Curragh that would cater for the needs of people in Kildare, Laois and Offaly.”

Minister Harris said a range of important policies that set out a vision and direction for higher education funding are now in place.

He added: “We plan on providing more funding for universities, we have developed new technological universities in the regions and plan on bringing about new academic contracts for staff to ensure those technological universities can reach their full potential.

“After years of debate, we have endeavoured to settle the question of how much sustainable funding needs to go into higher education.”

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