FEARS that Ofalia House is being closed through stealth by the Health Service Executive [HSE] were allayed this month.
Edenderry Town Council recently contacted the HSE calling for an urgent meeting to determine the exact number of beds available at the north Offaly unit as there were huge fears amongst the councillors that the unit was being closed by stealth and beds were not being made available to people. The council was provided with an update from the HSE on the unit’s bed situation and were happy with the response they received which informed them of several additional admissions to the unit recently. The HSE also undertook to keep the councillors updated on any changes within the unit.
Cllr Noel Cribbin described the HSE’s response as ‘very positive and was going in the right direction’.
However, Cllr Cribbin came under fire from a fellow councillor for releasing sensitive information into the public domain before it was discussed at its monthly meeting.
Cllr Declan Leddin was irate that the information from the HSE was released before the monthly meeting last week.
He suggested that Edenderry Town Council should have a policy of issuing information to the public and the press as a Town Council rather then as individual as he voiced concerns about “sensitive information” being issued recently one town councillor.
“We should treat this a bit more sensitively,” he added.
Cllr Cribbin later admitted that he put the information into the public arena recently. “It was to let people know what is going on in Ofalia House. People don’t know what is going on. I will make no apologies.”
Cllr Jim Murrin, an Cathaoirleach of Edenderry Town Council, believed that the issues should be discussed at the Town Council meeting first.
Cllr Fergus McDonnell was concerned that the Council could be ‘burning bridges’ with the HSE providing them with information. Cllr Finan O’Neill agreed saying that perhaps, when the councillors received the information they should ‘treat it discreetly’.
Cllr John Foley said that it was of the ‘utmost importance’ to keep the HSE on side. “We need to keep people on side. People are depending on us.”
Cllr Murrin stated that the information should be brought before the Town Council to be discussed and then take it from there.
A proposal was then put forward that any information should remain confidential until it is discussed at the Council’s monthly meeting and this was accepted by the councillors.