A respite-care residential centre for the elderly located on the northside of Cork city has announced its closure.
Mount Cara, also known as Cara House, based on Redemption Road in Blackpool is set to close after 30 years, citing the challenges posed by Covid-19 and a reduction in occupancy as the main reasons for making the decision.
"As a Board we have taken the hard decision to begin the process of winding down Mount Cara in a planned format.
"All staff have been fully briefed of the situation.
"We have also been in contact with all residents’ families and will continue to keep them informed as timelines are finalised," the Board said in a statement to.
"The new challenges posed by Covid-19, along with the reduction in occupancy have led to this decision.
"Mount Cara is a residential facility for older people and although it complies with Nursing Home Standards, it is not covered by the Fair Deal Scheme for residents.
"The increased provision of sheltered housing, home care packages and home help supports have also impacted on the demand for Mount Cara services," the statement continued.
The Board stated that it is in discussion with the HSE about the future placements of residents.
Independent Councillor Ken O’Flynn has said the news comes as a blow for the northside.
"The northside has very few facilities available to it, in particular when it comes to respite and elderly care.
"I think this, in particular, is a service that is going to be seriously lost and is a sad day for the northside," he said. "Mount Cara has provided an excellent service to the people of the northside in particular for over 30 years.
"If you were putting a parent in there you felt secure that the parent knew people inside there, that they would have been old neighbours – there was a great sense of community inside there and great comradery and friendship that was excelled by the staff inside there.
"I would ask the HSE and all the governing bodies involved would they reconsider keeping this facility open as it is a vital facility for the northside," he continued.
Cork North Central TD Thomas Gould said staff and residents are very upset by the announcement.
"The residents themselves love Cara House and they’re very nervous about being moved out of it," he said.
"They have great friendships with other people living there and with staff members. Moving to other accommodation for a lot of these people who are in their 80s, 90s, there’s even one person who is 100 years old to move at this stage they are really nervous.
"People feel safe and secure in Cara House and for me, I think it’s the wrong time to look at this [closing down].
"I believe the HSE should step in now and take over the running of the complex and keep the staff and the residents there.
"I was told that five people have looked to go in there but they haven’t been allowed because of the issue of Covid-19 was raised so if it’s an occupancy issue there are people who want to go there but aren’t being allowed to because of the decision by the management."