CONCERNS have been raised about the proposed temporary closure of a residential house in Castletownbere next month.
The proposed closure of the CoAction facility would mean moving three Castletownbere residents with intellectual disabilities out of the Beara peninsula to other residential centres in West Cork. CoAction has said the move is a last resort, being made due to a lack of staff.
The proposed closure of the residential house comes in the aftermath of the closure of a CoAction respite house in Castletownbere in July, again due to a lack of staff.
Annette O’Sullivan, who formerly worked in the respite house, said this latest proposed closure is very tough on the individuals involved and their families.
“This will be a huge upheaval for them,” said Ms O’Sullivan. “The only home they know is closing temporarily. This is their community.
"My heart is breaking for the three people who currently live there. I hope they rescind their decision.”
Michael Collins, Independent TD for Cork South West, has called on CoAction to explore every option other than closure. He wants discussions to take place at the ministerial level to resolve this issue.
A spokesperson for CoAction told The Echo that its inability to recruit staff has meant it has no option but to temporarily close.
“Despite repeated adverts in local media, advertising online, and liaising closely with up to 11 employment agencies, CoAction has not been able to recruit suitably qualified staff to keep our house on the Beara peninsula operating,” said the spokesperson.
“We have, therefore, made the very regrettable decision to temporarily relocate three people from their home in Beara to two of our other CoAction houses in Bantry and Skibbereen.
“CoAction has been facing very significant recruitment challenges right across our services in West Cork since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. We are struggling to maintain services in many of our areas.
“Relocating people is very much a last resort for us,” it said.
“A transition plan is in place for each person that is based on their particular needs and supports and all three will have moved by the end of October.
“CoAction are meeting with local public representatives next week to discuss the crisis and seek their support in raising the current challenges with Government colleagues.”
The spokesperson said the three individuals will return to their residential home in Beara once staff are recruited.