Assurances given on future of Donegal CoI hospital chapel

Rev Adam Pullen in the Church of Ireland church in St  Josephs Hospital, Stranorlar. Pic: Anne McMenamin, Finn Valley Voice newspaper
Rev Adam Pullen in the Church of Ireland church in St Josephs Hospital, Stranorlar. Pic: Anne McMenamin, Finn Valley Voice newspaper

The Irish health service has given formal assurances to a Donegal Church of Ireland cleric that it will not be removing a chapel for his denomination from Stranorlar Community Hospital.

Rev Adam Pullen, the local Church of Ireland cleric who ministers to patients in the chapel, hailed the outcome of the meeting as a success.

The story first came to light last month in Northern Ireland when Donegal Catholic priest Fr John Joe Duffy contacted the News Letter to express “horror” that the Catholic chapel was being retained in the hospital while the Church of Ireland chapel, which had been there for 50 years, was being removed.

After community outcry in Donegal, the HSE gave assurances it would consult with the Church of Ireland. A formal meeting with Rev Pullen took place on September 29 which he has now described as “constructive and helpful”.

Rev Pullen added that it was “a timely opportunity to share our concerns and the upset that had been within the parish and wider community”.

The cleric was assured that there had been no formal consultation on the changes, that he would be included when they do begin and that the chapel would be retained in the hospital, which is undergoing renovations.

The HSE said that a “review report” about hospitals in the area had been completed by Rhatigan Architects on behalf of the HSE, in order to comply with current health standards. The architects recommended the relocation of the Church of Ireland chapel. “There is no question of downgrading or eliminating access to religious facilities in the hospitals,” the HSE said.

It confirmed HSE officials have now met Rev Pullen.

“They assured Reverend Pullen that there will be consultation at the design stage re provision for all religions services within the hospital.”