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Health Minister sets up private office in South Tyrone Hospital

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Health Minister sets up private office in South Tyrone Hospital thumbnailMichelle O’Neill MLA

THE Health Minister is in the process of setting up a base in Dungannon's South Tyrone Hospital, the Courier can reveal.

Michelle O'Neill, an MLA for Mid-Ulster, is currently having an office set-up for both her and office staff's use in the town.

Ms O'Neill took up the health ministry in May, after having previously held the Agriculture and Rural Development portfolio.

The office is classed as a 'Ministerial Private Office' and will be sited in one of the former nurses quarters of South Tyrone Hospital.

A Department of Health spokesperson confirmed that the office will be used on an "ad hoc basis according to the Minister's diary commitments".

During her time as DARD Minister, Ms O'Neill introduced decentralisation, moving the Department's Hedquarters to Ballykelly in County Londonderry.

And the Courier has learned that the office, which has not yet been opened, has cost in the region of £5,000 to establish.

In a statement to the Courier, a Department of Health spokesperson confirmed that the office was being set up.

They said: "The Minister is in the process of establishing a Ministerial Private Office in one of the former Nurses Residences within South Tyrone Hospital.

"The office will be used by the Minister and some of her Private Office staff for meetings and will be used on an ad hoc basis according to the Minister's diary commitments.

"The approximate cost to bring the facility back into use is approximately £5k and the office has not been opened yet."

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