EDENDERRY'S Ofalia House may be facing closure, according to Cllr Fergus McDonnell, who quoted senior HSE sources when he spoke at last week's meeting of the Area Committee.
Earlier, the level of bed closures was raised by Cllr John Foley. "It's time for us all to stand up," he stated, and they should insist on respite care being restored immediately. He added, "It is vital that staff levels be brought up."
Cllrr Noel Bourke also felt that the respite situation was very unsatisfactory, and he said they should write to the HSE expressing 'extreme concern'.
Cllr Nichola Hogan said it was not acceptable that people had to travel 20 miles to visit family members, which precluded many from doing so.
Cllr McDonnell said it was 'heartbreaking' to see people in their nineties having to protest at cuts.
He added that there had been appointments to permanent nursing posts "not a hundred miles from here" in recent months.
He knew from senior contacts in the HSE that the future of Ofalia House was "in jeopardy", adding "I don't say that lightly."
Meanwhile,the HSE has confirmed that at a meeting with public representatives from Edenderry and its surrounds on Friday last, HSE officials explained the background to the temporary suspension of Respite Services at Ofalia House and confirmed the alternative arrangements for Respite Service now in place at Bethany House, Tyrrellspass.
The HSE explained that the reason for the temporary suspension of Respite Services at Ofalia House related to the requirement on the HSE to ensure that services are provided in a safe manner from within the resources available at any given time.
The decision to suspend Respite Services was taken on Health & Safety grounds as a result of the recent retirements of a number of nursing staff and the inability to replace these staff due to the provisions of the Public Service Moratorium on Recruitment.
HSE officials confirmed the intention to restore the 6 bed Respite Service at Ofalia House at the earliest possible opportunity and within the context of the resources available.