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HSE defends decision to move testing centre to Breaffy

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CENTRE OF ATTENTION The main Covid-19 vaccination centre for Mayo has been located at the Breaffy House Resort since it opened in late March of last year.  Pic: Conor McKeown

Oisín McGovern

THE HSE has defended its decision to move the Mayo Covid-19 testing facility at MacHale Park to Breaffy Sports Centre.
At the end of the month, testing will cease at the MacHale Park drive-in centre, which has been used for PCR testing since the start of the pandemic. All future testing will take place at the facility in Breaffy, where booster vaccines for over 12s and first and second doses for five to eleven year olds are also being administered.
In a statement issued to The Mayo News, a HSE spokesperson said that ‘many possible locations’ were considered before the site at Breaffy was chosen.
As reported last week, local county councillor Ger Deere had raised concerns that the increased volume of traffic on the N60 between Balla and Castlebar would make the road more dangerous. He described the area as ‘a notorious, dangerous spot’ and called for the HSE to consider an alternative location.
A long-standing campaign to have the speed limit along the road reduced is ongoing.
Responding to the concerns set out by Cllr Deere, the HSE said: “Various considerations were taken into account in making this decision, including traffic flow, and a traffic management system is being put in place to deal with this.
“It should also be noted that the test site operates a pre-booked slots system, which in turn ensures traffic flow is controlled,” the statement concluded.

‘Not convinced’
Yesterday (Monday) Cllr Deere told The Mayo News that he was ‘not convinced’ that the HSE had considered all other suitable sites before choosing the site in Breaffy.
“I’d like more detail as to what extra traffic control measures they have put in place,” the Fine Gael councillor said.
“Vaccination and testing numbers will probably reduce following the lifting of restrictions at the weekend, but proper safety and traffic control still needs to be paramount.”