edenderry Town Council will continue to fight to keep Ofalia House open.
At Wednesday’s Town Council meeting members called for an urgent meeting with the HSE to determine the exact number of beds available at the unit as there were fears that it was being closed by stealth as residents passed away and their beds were not made available to people on the waiting list.
It was also agreed that having the ambulance service based at Ofalia House could be an advantage in the fight to keep the facility open. Up to now the council members had been calling for the service to be located at the town’s Fire Station.
Recently a delegation from the Town Council met with HSE representatives. Cllr John Foley said “the good news is the ambulance service is here to stay. Having the ambulance based at Ofalia House is a step in the right direction to keep Ofalia House open. We have a fight on our hands to keep Ofalia House open. We need to stick together.
“There are three facilities in Offaly in Tullamore, Birr and Edenderry. Which one will close? The ambulance service is secure now, we need to ensure that Ofalia House remains open. Let’s do it together.”
Cllr Finian O’Neill expressed concern that in 2011 the Council was told there were 34 beds in Ofalia House, but he thought this was now down to 23 or 24.
He said he knew of four people waiting to get into Ofalia House.
Cllr Patricia Brady pointed out that the meeting with the HSE had not 1been a formal one and while she welcomed the fact that the current ambulance service location had been passed for risk assessment suitability, she felt that a formal meeting with the HSE should be sought.
Cllr Noel Cribbin wondered about asking the matron for figures on the number of patients and the number of people on waiting lists, but it was felt that it would be more apprioriate to get such figures from the HSE.
Cathaoirleach Cllr Jim Murrin said that the HSE had promised a monthly update on Ofalia House, but this had not happened. “People have passed away, so the numbers are down, but they are not letting people in. We should have a continuous update.”