DACC meet for Cancer Services

DACC remains totally focused on

Cancer Patients & their Families in all the work they do on a daily basis and will continue to do.

Central to DACC is Best Care for Cancer Patients & their families.

DACC use and save all their energies to engage in the pursuit of  positive developments in cancer care.

DACC do not and will not allow themselves to be drawn into negativity that could distract from the important work they have undertaken. 

DACC wish to extend sincere thansk to Dr. Laszlo Tabar for an excellent Community Lecture on

Advances in Breast Cancer Care 
 with Dr. Laszlo Tabar, MD from Sweden

a world expert in his field

Dr Laszlo Tabar MD

This was a unique opportunity to hear a world expert in Mammography. 

Thanks must also go to the new Breast Surgeon Mr. Michael Sugrue,

Letterkenny General Hospital & the HSE West for having the foresight to invest in this visit.

                                    Thank You.         HSE lOGO  



A few  DACC Members with Dr. Tabar,Mr Sean Murphy,General Manager, LGH Mr Michael Sugrue  and Mr. Donal O Driscoll

Letterkenny General Hospital.


DACC meet with Mr Michael Sugrue,

Breast Surgeon at Letterkenny General Hospital.

This was a very positive & informative meeting.

Thank you Mr Sugrue

DACC look forward to continuing to work with all at Letterkenny General Hospital for the good of cancer patients.


DACC travel to Dublin to meet with Mr Tony O’ Brien, Breast Check on Thursday 31st July 08

to get answers to what the delays and difficuties are in geeting the service “rolled”out in Donegal.


A delegation from Donegal Action for Cancer Care travelled to the Dail on Wednesday 21st May to observe the cancer debate and vote on cancer services for the North West.

Those who went were Lynn Mc Devitt, Sean O’ Donnell, Betty Holmes and Noel A Coyle.

The team travelled up leaving after lunch time and returning home that night to Donegal.

Sincere thanks again to Mc Ginley Motors who once again provided/sponsored  DACC with a brand new car so we could travel in comfort.


Dr O Reilly meeting May 08

DACC meet with Dr James O’Reilly Fine Gael along with Mr Joe Mc Hugh TD and Cllr. Bernard Mc Guinness on Thursday night the 15th May in The An Grianan Hotel, Burt.

The meeting lasted an hour & a half with DACC asking them to be clear regarding developing Letterkenny General Hospital on a Cross Border basis to serve the North West.

DACC also expressed their concerns regarding  that it would appear that they are the only people calling for support for Letterkenny General Hospital.Dr. O’ Reilly along with Joe & Bernard undertook to get answers to some of the very important questions DACC had for them.These questions will be asked in the Dail on Wednesday 21st May. Also in picture with Dr. O Rielly is Mary Mc Callion, Paddy Hume, Sean O’ Donnell, Grainne Gillen, Joe Mc Hugh TD, Betty Holmes, Noel A Coyel &Cllr.Bernard Mc Guinness.

Donegal Action for Cancer Care met with An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern on Friday 25th April in the Mount Errigal Hotel, Letterkenny. 

DACC presented An Taoiseach with their document regarding developing Letterkenny General Hospital to serve the North West on a Cross Border basis.

DACC asked An Taoiseach- Why Not Letterkenny General Hospital?

DACC also asked that An Taoiseach inititate a process to allow for Letterkenny General Hospital proposal to be reviewed and discussed.

The Taoiseach talked at lenght to the DACC members and promised to resond to the questions asked.

Some would say that “Why bother meeting Bertie Ahern?” We in DACC would say  that  we are meeting with the position of An Taoiseach which will still be in place after 6th May 08.



Grainne Gillen, Noel Coyle and Sean O’ Donnell,

The Action Strategy Sub Committee Members of DACC

are proud to present Prof. Tom Keane with a Copy of their Cancer Information Book

“You Are Not Alone”

As you can see from the photo Prof. Keane was happy to accept all the copies left with him.

 Thank You Prof. Keane.

DACC  met with the HSE West onThursday 15th November. It was a very positive meeting. DACC updated the HSE on their  recent meeting with Minister Mary Harney in Dublin where they informed the Minister that they were looking to build on the excellence that already exists at Letterkenny General Hospital by seeking support to develop Letterkenny General Hospital as a Centre of Excellence to serve the North West as a cross border development.

Once again DACC restated their support for

Letterkenny General Hospital.

DACC would like to welcome the new locum haematologist Dr Hana Frankova who will replace Dr Hennessey.

 We wish to thank Dr Hennessy for all his work at LGH.   

DACC presented Mr Alan Moran HSE with their cancer information book

“You Are Not Alone”. Mr Moran had already read the book and said he found it to be very helpful and informative. 


DACC Propose Centre of Excellence at Letterkenny General Hospital.

Press release by Mr Paddy Hume, PRO for DACC on visit to Minister Mary Harney in Dublin on the 13th November 07.

A delegation of DACC met with Minister Mary Harney to highlight the need for the development of cancer services in Letterkenny.The group emphasised that Donegal appeared to lose out in the development of Centres of Excellence and suggested to the Minister to give thought to the proposal that Letterkenny General Hospital become a Centre of Excellence to cover the North West Region.

The delegation emphasised that there is no reason why Letterkenny General Hospital could not be the Centre of Excellence for the North West building on the excellent services already in place.

Letterkenny General Hospital is well placed for this having a:

  • Hospice,
  • LYIT which now does nurse education,
  • 10 Community Hospitals to give good step down services,
  • The development of a Wellness Centre for cancer screening,
  • Well developed Primary Care Centres around Donegal
  • Catchment areas could take in Derry, Tyrone to create the critical mass popualtion to justify the setting up of a Centre of Excellence for Cancer Care.
  • The meeting was a very positive one with the Minister giving us an hour of her time.
  • DACC informed the Minister that when DACC was formed it’s focus was for Letterkenny General Hospital and this has not changed, remains so today and will continue to be Letterkenny General Hospital.

Minister Mary Harney with her copy of the DACC information book “You Are Not Alone” that was presented to her by Raymond Doherty, Ass. Secretary of DACC and husband of founder member of DACC Anna ( who passed away in recent months) at their meeting with her  in Dublin.

DACC felt that their meeting with Minister Mary Harney was a very worthwhile one.

It appeared to those present that the Minister was very aware of the journey of cancer and it’s implications if you lived in Donegal. Also it was as if the Minister was hearing clearly what was being said to her and indeed the Minister not only proposed to DACC that they meet with Prof Keane to discuss their proposal but Minister Harney offered to arrange this for us. Minister Harney also informed DACC of  reports that existed that would be of benefit to DACC. A very worthwhile meeting.

Thank You Minister Harney.

Again,  “Sincere Thanks” to Mc Ginley Motor’s Letterkenny for providing DACC with top of the range transport to travel to Dublin to meet with Minister Harney.


On Wednesday 26th September Minister Mary Harney announced eight centres of excellence for cancer treatment. On a “sole exception basis”cancer services in Letterkenny General Hospital will be delivered as an outreach service from Galway University College Hospital, Galway.

Noting the “particular and unique geographical circumstances applying to Donegal” Minister Harney said radiotherapy service provided at Belfast”

At present Letterkenny General Hospital has an 11-bed Oncology unit which was completed in March 2006.

This is supported by a Day Care Area, Breast Care Suite and a Clear Air Pharmaceutical Preparation Room.

In 2006 there were 373 discharges from its dedicated in-patient care and 3,118 discharges from the Day Oncology Unit.

Mr Paddy Hume,PRO for DACC said people in Donegal were being offered the “crumbs of the Galway table” in terms of cancer care.

“I can’t believe that people are lauding this programme. It effectively offers no new services for people in Donegal”.

“The eight centres of excellence are geographically skewed with all centres located below the line of Galway. The announcement does not change what’s already thee in terms of cancer treatment for patients here. We should be pushing to get outreach services in Altnagelvin, not Belfast. It’s a natural hinterland for Donegal.” he said. “The road to Galway can be as far away as Dublin for some people. Patients in Donegal are travelling from Malin Head and all over the countyPeople recieving treatment are sick and vulnerable people”. “Effectively the Cancer Control Programme has recognised eight centres of treatment and taking away treatment from 13 other hospitals My big fear is that there is stll a possibility of services being run down in Letterkenny” he added.  (Courtesty of Catriona Gallen, Derry People/ Donegal News)


DACC had  requested a meeting immediately after the General Election with the TD’s of the county together. Appreciating and respecting that it maybe difficult for them all to get together at the one time in Donegal, DACC then requested a meeting in Dublin with the 6 of them.

A delegation from DACC  travelled to Dail Eireann on Wednesday 24th October to meet with the 6 Donegal TD’s and were joined by the 2 Senators.

The delegation  travelled to bring our concerns to them as they are the people we will be working together with for the next 5 years. This was DACC’s  first meeting with the newly elected team as a group.

DACC would like to “Thank Minister Pat Gallagher” for hosting this meeting.

The delegation were met at the door  by Joe Mc Hugh TD & Dr. James Mc Daid

TD who extended a very “Warm Welcome” to all on behalf of their colleagues.

It was great that the team gave an hour and a half of their time, on what was a very busy day for them all.

Thanks to Minister Mary Coughlan, Minister Pat Gallagher, Dr. James Mc

Daid,TD, Niall Blaney, TD, Dinny Mc Ginley,TD, Joe Mc Hugh TD and to Senators, Cecilia Keaveney & Brian O Domhnaill for joining us.

The meeting was a very positive and constructive one with those present again restating their ongoing support for DACC. 

Again DACC acknowledge the support given by these politicans to DACC.


The DACC delegation outside  Dail Eireann on

Wednesday 24th October 07.

DACC would like to extend their

Sincere Thanks


 Mc Ginley Motors

Pearce Rd. Letterkenny for their genorous offer of transport( a brand new 07) to take the delegation to Dail Eireann.

Go Raibth Maith Agat.

DACC Questions to the 6 Donegal TD’s and 2 Senators, for answers presented among other things in Dail Eireann on 24-10-07

No 1 Breast Surgeon:

(a) : Confirmation in writing confirming the start date of the new Breast Surgeon and will he/she be based/located in Letterkenny General Hospital and not in Galway and travel to Letterkenny on an outreach basis.

(b) Please clarify what OUTREACH means.

(This is a major fear at the moment as the Breast Surgeon will be taking up their post one year after being recruited at a time when Minister Mary Harney will be conducting a review of cancer services in January 08. With Letterkenny now named as an outreach this urgently needs to be clarified).

No 2: What services will the new Breast Surgeon provide to Letterkenny General Hospital?

No 3: Breast Check:

(a) Exact date when the service will be available in Donegal?

(b) How often will the service be available in Donegal?

No4: Long overdue meeting with Minister Mary Harney be sought and date confirmed asap.

 (This meeting had been promised and offered by Minister Harney in Letterkenny in May 06. Minister Harney had promised the meeting for Oct 6 .This did not happen. When she came to Donegal in April an urgent meeting was requested. At that time she said she could not meet.)

No5: Answers to questions given to An Taoisaech at meeting in Letterkenny General Hospital on the 29th March 07.(The Taoiseach acknowledged the work of DACC at that time and undertook to come back with answers to our questions)

No6: At what stage in the recruitment process is the Colorectal Surgeon for Letterkenny General Hospital?

Donegal Action for Cancer Care  go to Dail Eireann to seek Centre of Excellence for Letterkenny General Hospital!     ( Press Release Monday 29th October 07)

DACC had requested a meeting immediately after the General Election with the TD’s of the county together. Appreciating and respecting that it maybe difficult for them all to get together at the one time in Donegal, DACC then requested a meeting in Dublin .

A delegation of 6 from DACC travelled to Dail Eireann on Wednesday 24th October to meet with all the Donegal TD’s and were joined by the 2 Senators Cecilia Keaveney and Brian O Domhnaill.

The delegation travelled to bring their concerns to them as they are the people we will be working together with for the next 5 years. This was DACC’s first meeting with the newly elected team as a group. DACC remain totally focused on Letterkenny General Hospital.

DACC had clear objectives for this meeting.

1) To make elected reps aware of DACC strategic objectives for next 4 to 5 years.

2) To make clear that the needs of Donegal cancer patients are paramount in DACC

2) To elicit all party support for DACC objectives.

3) Establish lines of communication between DACC and reps going forward.

The elected representatives were:

1) Each in turn described their objectives for cancer services.

2) Each gave undertaking publicly to continue communication lines with DACC

3) A number of reps had private discussions with DACC

DACC were struck by the cross party support and the degree to which all reps present were focused on cancer services as being of major importance and a priority for all of them.

The reps acknowledged the dedicated, focused and reasoned approach of DACC as advocates for cancer patients over a number of years.

Chairperson of DACC Seamus O Donnell said “Firstly I would like on behalf of DACC to extend our sincere thanks to our Donegal Politicians for affording us the opportunity to meet with them and to Pat the Cope TD for hosting this very important meeting. It has opened the channels so that together we can develop good clear lines of communication and information sharing. We see this as an opportunity that we took to initiate a process with our Donegal Politicians to “kick start” round table open discussions on cancer services in Donegal. We are delighted that not only did they welcome the opportunity but it was reassuring that they were in agreement that the time had come for all involved to put the cards on the table for open and frank discussion in relation to cancer services in this next stage in the process. We in DACC were very clear two and a half years ago and still are that we want cancer services for Letterkenny General Hospital.”

Questions were tabled by DACC for replies to be given later. Very open and frank discussions took place by all concerned on all issues relating to  Health and Cancer Services and how these services can be moved forward in the duration of this Dail term. 

“I was delighted to be part of the next stage in relation to the cancer debate in Donegal. I wish to congratulate DACC for bringing it to this new level. I would encourage the public to get involved in the debate and ultimately have a dedicated radiotherapy centre in the North West. As the new Fine Gael Spokesperson on North West Co-operation I will be encouraging my colleagues across the border to likewise get involved in the debate. We have a perfect template to have Sligo-Letterkenny- Altnagalvin sharing of expertise/opportunity. As Donegal North East Deputy who was familiar with the ongoing development at Letterkenny, I will be lobbying hard for a dedicated public, accessible, affordable cancer centre in Letterkenny” said Joe Mc Hugh TD.

Dr James McDaid T.D said of the meeting“I have always maintained that the North West requires its own Centre of Excellence with regard to Cancer Treatment. This should be ideally placed in Letterkenny whether it is a Private or Public provided facility is of little relevance to me as long as Public Patients are able to avail of these services through the HSE taking on that service on their behalf. In my experience Patients do not mind if there are treated through the Private or Public sector as long as they are treated and that is their right.”

Extensive discussions took place on how best to move the process forward with all the proposed developments around Cancer Services and facilities. This meeting was one of the most positive that DACC have been involved in since its inception.DACC is non party political and all attending gave their full cross-party support to move forward with openness and address the issues that patients are encountering. 

Senator Brian O’ Domhnaill noting the energy of DACC said:

“The meeting was constructive & very positive. I would like to pay tribute to DACC for putting the whole cancer service issue on the agenda locally and nationally.

It was clear from the meeting that our agenda is unified and we will be working together in order to provide state of the art cancer services and facilities in Letterkenny to cater for the needs of Donegal and surrounding areas”

Minister Pat Gallagher who on DACC’s behalf had been requesting a meeting with Minister Mary Harney informed the group that this was now happening.

These issues are as such:

  • Centre of Excellence for  the North West in Letterkenny General Hospital .
  • Breast Surgeon
  • Colorectal Surgeon
  • Radiation Services
  • New A&E & 70 Beds
  • Plight of Patients in Donegal
  • Wellness Centre
  • Private Hospital
  • Primary Care
  • Education of Young on Cancer Care
  • Response to questions tabled to An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Enda Kenny & urgent meeting with Mary Harney.

“I'm glad that Letterkenny hospital has a fine basis that has been improved through recent announcements. Having the best possible services as close to home as gives us our best chance of survival and it remains my key aim. It is an ongoing matter that I will continue to speak to Minister Harney about.  I do believe that there have been major moves in recent times and this needs to continue. I declare my interest in that, as I said before I may well be that patient that needs that facility!” concluded Senator Keaveney 

While the tone of the meeting was of a very serious nature the relationships and trust that existed left DACC in no doubt that they have the support and commitment of  all the attending Donegal Politician’s.

Thank you to Joe Mc Hugh TD and Dr James Mc Daid TD who welcomed DACC at the door of Dail Eireann on behalf of their colleagues .Our sincere thanks to Minister Mary Coughlan, Minster Pat Gallagher, Dr. James Mc Daid TD, Niall Blaney TD, Dinny Mc Ginley TD, Joe Mc Hugh TD, Senators Cecilia Keaveney and Brian O Domhnaill.

We would like to acknowledge the support of Noel Mc Ginley of Mc Ginley Motors, Letterkenny. by providing transport for the delegation to travel to Dublin.


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