FTER months of campaigning by East Cork locals, the Oireachtas health committee has announced that it plans to visit the Owenacurra mental health facility in Midleton this month.
It was announced last June that the centre, which has been open for 33 years, would be closed due to building defects by October 31.
The closure has since been the subject of debates at both local and Governmental levels, and was pushed back to an unspecified date.
Last week, Cork County Council decided to write to all Government party leaders and HSE CEO Paul Reid to request that the families of the affected residents be allowed to appoint their own structural engineer to assess the feasibility of renovations at the centre.
Green Party councillor Liam Quaide said that the newly announced visit comes after a referral that he and eight other local representatives drafted to the health committee on October 12.
The news has been welcomed by Sinn Féin TD for Cork East Pat Buckley, who said that he would support a push for a resolution that meets the needs of those dependent on the service in any way.
“This is a very welcome decision by the committee and its members,” he said.
“I have been raising this issue daily for months, and have been fobbed off with answers lacking clarity or commitment. I hope this visit by the committee will not just be a photo opportunity, and will be the beginning of a much more serious approach to the issue.”