The snub of an invitation to meet Fermanagh and Omagh District Council by former health minister Robin Swann is still being felt inside the chamber as Councillors called for an update on Lisnaskea Health Centre.

The matter was raised during a debate on health services in the area at the full Council meeting on June 4.

The matter was raised following debate on GP elective services that were impacted by a 50 per cent funding cut.

Proposing writing to new Health Minister, Nike Nesbitt, Sinn Féin Erne East Councillor Noeleen Hayes said: “I would like to propose to write to him to encourage him to consider in his decisions ahead to reinstate the GP elective services, funding cut of 50 per cent, especially the Lisnaskea women’s health services which has been devastating for women’s health and also to the waiting lists.

She called for a promise from the Health Minister that going forward, “any cuts that are coming are subject to a rural impact assessment, I do believe that the cuts in this rural area have a much more devastating effect than it would in highly populated areas.”

The motion was seconded by Josephine Deehan who said: “I am acutely aware of the budgetary constraints as applied to the decisions that the Executive have to face but I think Councillor [Minister] Nesbitt has made it clear that we will do everything within his power to try and rectify the dire situation we find ourselves in.

“The waiting list for gynaecological assessment really are such that there is almost no service at present and that is no disrespect to our consultant gynaecologists and nurse specialists who work so hard.”

Ulster Unionist Erne East Councillor Victor Warrington said: “I think it fair to say, We are not living in an ideal world, we would all love to see these services reintroduced but the bottom line is that the DOH is working on a £184m less pounds this year than they were previously.

“We can’t make mountains out of molehills but the Department of Health is on record saying that if the funding comes available again these services will be reintroduced into the system.”

Councillor Thomas O’Reilly called for an amendment to ask for an update on Lisnaskea Health Centre.

He said: “Our job is to fight and lobby for services for our citizens in this council area, the Erne East area which was promised a new health centre some years ago and we don’t seem to have any sight or word about the commencement date of that.

“In that light, I propose we do two things.

“I propose we invite the new minister down so this would be our first opportunity to extend an invitation.

“We would ask in that same letter for a commencement date or at least an update on the new health centre in Lisnaskea.

“We were promised it would start earlier this year and we are now in June so I think it's fair to ask, where is it?”

Councillor Adam Gannon, Erne West SDLP asked for the letter to include references to the snub by the former Minister to meet with the Council, he said: “We expressed our disappointment in Robin Swann for not acknowledging us that he received our letter and would eventually get back to it on an invitation of meeting which is quite disrespect to the council on his part.

“If possible in the letter, to make reference to the fact that we invited Minister Swann down to talk about emergency general surgery and discuss it along with other issues, state how many times we wrote to the minister and hope he doesn’t share the ignorance of his party colleague on this, its terrible that the previous minister didn’t respond to us on this.”

Erne East Sinn Féin Councillor Sheamus Greene weighed in on the debate and said: “You would think if the health service was being run properly, we would have surgeons in Enniskillen, a health centre built in Lisnaskea, we wouldn’t be sitting twiddling our thumbs, begging and pleading for a health minister to come see us, even pleading that they’ll acknowledge us.

“I would suggest the best way to do it, and I don’t know if he is still the SPAD to the minister,  but just give the letter to the special advisor [Councillor Mark Ovens, UUP] and let him hand it to him in the morning, which I suggest would be a quicker route and we can ask him at the next meeting what was said instead of wondering what was said.”