The long term viability of Ofalia House in Edenderry is still uncertain according to members of the town council.
Speaking at the December meeting Cllr Fergus McDonnell said he was not convinced that the facility’s future had been secured.
Cathaoirleach Cllr Jim Murrin pointed out that at a recent meeting Gerry Raleigh of the HSE had said that units with less than 50 beds in use were likely to be closed.
However, Cllr Noel Cribbin added that Mr Raleigh had assured the members of Edenderry Town Council that Ofalia House would not be closed. “That assurance was given when they thought they had gotten the cull they wanted with Abbeyleix, they were not looking at Ofalia House.”
“We should ask him to come back to us,” suggested Cllr Murrin.
Cllr Declan Leddin pointed out that Ofalia House was state of the art so he did not think the 50 bed rule would apply there but it might for older less well equippped facilities.
Recent events such as the legal case with Abbeyleix Hospital could change things for Ofalia House, warned Cllr McDonnell. “They are privatising elderly health care by stealth.”
“No facility is safe,” warned Cllr Patricia Brady. “HIQA is going to dictate what stays open and waiting lists,” she added. According to Cllr Brady there are four people on a waiting list in Tullamore seeking beds in Ofalia House.