Sinn Féin TD for Cork East Pat Buckley has called on Minister Stephen Donnelly and Minister Mary Butler to meet with local representatives to discuss the proposed closure of Owenacurra Mental Health Centre.
The Midleton facility is to be closed on October 31st, which has led to serious concern for the local community, staff, vulnerable residents and their families.
Teachta Buckley said:
“I am calling on the ministers responsible for the HSE and mental health policy to meet with local representatives who have been very vocal on this issue and in raising the concerns of the community.
“I have contacted all TDs representing Cork East to ask that they join with me in a united front to request this meeting and to fight for the decision to be overturned.
“Owenacurra must be kept open. Residents and their families should be reassured and staff maintained. The unit is also a day centre, which offers vital mental health care for many people living in the community. These services must be maintained also and supported as part of the wider strategy to improve community mental health.
“The HSE has said some residents may be rehoused and others may have to return to their homes. This is unacceptably vague and has given rise to serious worry among a vulnerable group, who require care, and their families, who in some cases are completely unable to support them to live independently.
“Of course we need to ensure that mental health facilities are in the best condition for future care, but not at the expense of current care, which 19 residents are clearly dependent on.”
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health Mark Ward TD added:
“I do not think I’ve seen a community rally around a mental health service like this before.
“Owenacurra residents are part of the Community in Midleton They are not apart from the community.
“They have neighbours, friends, and routines like everyone else.
“The HSE and the state are complicit in allowing the building in Owenacurra to become run-down.
“If this was a resident living in a house, whose landlord neglected to maintain their home, then the resident would have recourse through the Residential Tenancy Board.
“In this case, the HSE is the neglectful landlord. Where is the recourse for the residents of Owenacurra?
“All evidence I have heard is that the service provided to residents is good, but the maintenance of the building has let them down.
“I am calling on the Minister to intervene and to meet with TDs from the area and other stakeholders and to stop the closure of this facility.”