Pics: Hundreds attend march to protest proposed closure of east Cork mental health facility

Pics: Hundreds attend march to protest proposed closure of east Cork mental health facility

Mary Hurley from Cobh, centre, with Cllrs Danielle Twomey and Liam Quaide, taking part in the public demonstration to protest against the proposed closure of the Owenacurra Mental Health facility in Midleton.

HUNDREDS of people marched the main street of Midleton on Saturday to highlight the ongoing issue surrounding the proposed closure of the only east Cork mental health facility, Owenacurra House.

While north Cork has three centres, one in Mallow, Fermoy and Kanturk, east Cork, which also facilitates care for individuals from the Cobh area, has just one centre in Midleton and that centre is now set to close.

A strong show of solidarity was shown with the residents, their families and the broader cohort of service-users with severe and enduring mental illness who will need the Owenacurra Centre into the future on Saturday.

 Eoin Underwood, Blarney and Laoise Kelleher, Cobh, attending the public demonstration to protest against the proposed closure of the Owenacurra Mental Health facility in Midleton.
Eoin Underwood, Blarney and Laoise Kelleher, Cobh, attending the public demonstration to protest against the proposed closure of the Owenacurra Mental Health facility in Midleton.

Green Party Councillor Liam Quaide was joined by TDs David Stanton and Pat Buckley along with Sinn Féin Councillor Danielle Twomey, among other councillors to highlight the problem being faced by mental health service users in the east Cork area.

Speaking to The Echo, Mr Quaide outlined the main purpose of the march which was for the families of the Owenacurra centre residents to appoint an independent structural engineer to assess the building for the feasibility of renovations.

 Aaron Frahill, Cobh and Niamh Connery, Glanmire, at the public demonstration to protest against the proposed closure of the Owenacurra Mental Health facility in Midleton.
Aaron Frahill, Cobh and Niamh Connery, Glanmire, at the public demonstration to protest against the proposed closure of the Owenacurra Mental Health facility in Midleton.

“Families have a right to appoint their own structural engineer to assess the feasibility of renovations of the Owenacurra Centre that were costed and designed in 2020. The closure process should be fully suspended until this is completed and until after the Public Accounts Committee examines documents relating to the closure rationale.” 

 Susan Herlihy, pottery teacher and Sheila Hennessy, Mogeely, supporting the public demonstration to protest against the proposed closure of the Owenacurra Mental Health facility in Midleton.
Susan Herlihy, pottery teacher and Sheila Hennessy, Mogeely, supporting the public demonstration to protest against the proposed closure of the Owenacurra Mental Health facility in Midleton.

Mr Quaide said stopping the closure was a feat of the highest order as the ball was already set in motion.

“It will take an intervention at the highest level of government or the HSE nationally to avert this closure. It is incumbent upon government public reps, myself included, to appeal to our Ministerial colleagues to exercise moral authority here.

 A section of the hugh crowd attending the public demonstration to protest against the proposed closure of the Owenacurra Mental Health facility in Midleton.
A section of the hugh crowd attending the public demonstration to protest against the proposed closure of the Owenacurra Mental Health facility in Midleton.

“Families increasingly feel there is no accountability for the decision.”

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