WHITEGATE representative, Cllr Pat Burke (FG) has resigned from his role on the HSE Regional Health Forum West.
For the past eleven years, Cllr Burke has been one of the four Clare representatives sitting on the Forum which meets every quarter and includes representatives from the City Councils of Limerick and Galway plus County Councils of Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Limerick, Mayo, North Tipperary, Roscommon and Sligo.
Up to seven questions were tabled by Cllr Burke during his time on the Forum, an exact figure could not be provided as minutes from some meetings have been unavailable since the HSE online system was hacked last year.
Among the items raised by the former Cathaoirleach of the Killaloe Municipal District included primary care centres within the county and a more flexible approach from HIQA to accommodation needs in community hospitals and nursing homes. Raheen Community Hospital was regularly flagged by Cllr Burke with queries relating to physiotherapy services there, capital funding, schedules for extension works and status updates on phase two plans.
Nine different politicians from Clare served alongside the Whitegate man whilst he was on the forum. They include Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF), Cllr Bill Chambers (FF), Cllr Liam Grant (GP), Cllr Ann Norton (IND), Cllr PJ Ryan (IND), Senator Roisin Garvey (GP) and retired politicians such as former Mayor of Clare Tom McNamara (FF), Brian Meaney (GP) and Tony Mulqueen (FG).
Time commitments are understood to be a factor for the farmer’s decision to vacate his role, he attended one of the four meetings held by the Forum in 2021 and was absent for its most recent sitting, the first in-person meeting since the pandemic.
Monday’s meeting of Clare County Council heard confirmation of Cllr Burke’s departure. “I would like to thank Cllr Burke for the great commitment and time he gave to this forum. With circumstances beyond his control, he can no longer continue in this position,” Cllr Joe Cooney (FG) stated.
Mayor of Clare, Cllr Ryan recalled serving with his colleague on the Forum, “he was very active and he certainly did a lot through HSE West for the people of Clare, he highlighted numerous situations”.
On the proposal of Cllr Cooney and seconded by Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND), Ennis’ Cllr Mary Howard (FG) was chosen to fill the vacancy on the Forum until the end of the current Council term in 2024.
Speaking at Monday’s meeting of the local authority, Cllr Burke thanked both Cllr Ryan and Cllr Cooney for their “kind remarks” regarding his contribution and he wished Cllr Howard well in the role. Ironically, Cllr Burke was Deputy Mayor during Cllr Howard’s term as the county’s first citizen, it was the first time in the over 100 year history of the Council that Fine Gael held the positions of Mayor and Deputy Mayor.