The Minister for Health has confirmed that funding has been put in place for an extension to the Accident and Emergency Department at Letterkenny General Hospital.

The department has been the subject of much criticism by hospital staff, local politicians and the public for its chaotic overcrowding, inadequate space and facilities, and lengthy waiting periods.

Minister Micheál Martin announced the extension on a visit to the hospital today. He said he expected the project to be completed within 18 months to two years.

It is expected that the project will cost in the region of €4m and will effectively mean a new A&E; department for the hospital, which has a huge catchment area in Co Donegal.

A&E; consultant at the hospital, Dr Gerry Lane, who has been outspoken in his criticism of the current facilities in Letterkenny, warmly welcomed the announcement.