BUS TO BELFAST: Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae pictured with Ann McGillicuddy from Tiernaboul in November when news that the end of the Cross Border Directive in Northern Ireland became known. Photo: Michelle Crean

 

By Michelle Crean

The Bus to Belfast service under the Cross Border Directive which ceased operation on December 31 due to Brexit – is back under a new 12 month scheme.

Irish patients waiting for surgery in the Republic were able to obtain treatment in Northern Ireland under the scheme.
In early November the Killarney Advertiser reported that Deputy Danny Healy-Rae – who has been organising the bus trips to Kingsbridge Private Hospital in Belfast since November 2017 with Cork Independent TD Michael Collins – was “horrified” at the news.

This week, both Danny and his brother Deputy Micheal Healy-Rae welcomed the news that a new Northern Ireland Planned Healthcare Scheme, will operate on the same parameters as the EU Cross Border Directive scheme.

“Following my representations to the Taoiseach and the Government, I am glad that the arrangement has been put in place to ensure people can continue to travel to Belfast for procedures such as cataracts, hip, knee replacements, tonsil removal,” Danny Healy-Rae told the Killarney Advertiser.

“The new scheme will operate for 12 months under the same terms as the EU Cross Border Directive Scheme. This is great news for those on long waiting lists for procedures. I am now taking names for the next bbus to travel to King’s Bridge Private Hospital in Belfast for medical procedures.”

Michael also added that he’s “thrilled that some creative thinking between both Governments have given us this window for 12 months”.

“Last October in a heated debate in the Dáil on this matter, I told the Taoiseach to “cop on a small bit” and I am delighted that the Government have on this matter. While I would love to see these operations taking place within the State, and that still remains the goal, but for now an extra year will make a great deal of difference in a lot of people’s lives.”