A CRUCIAL meeting regarding the closure of Midleton Mental Health facility, the Owenacurra Centre, was postponed yesterday due to insufficient time for discussion.
HSE management requested to reduce the speaking time of health committee members to five minutes each, citing emergency meetings to respond to Storm Barra as the cause.
The meeting, which would normally be two hours in length, was to be reduced to an hour or an hour and a quarter.
As a consequence, the health committee voted to postpone the meeting so that they could have sufficient time to examine the decision properly.
Speaking to The Echo, Green Party and Midleton councillor Liam Quaide said it was the right decision.
“The idea that members would have just five minutes each to speak is not acceptable and disrespectful to the families affected by this closure,” he said.
Mr Quaide also raised the issue of a lack of information being provided by the HSE in relation to the closure of the residential centre. He highlighted that it had said room sizes were a “key part” of the argument to close the centre.
“Twenty days ago, Neasa Hourigan TD requested room-size dimensions for the Owenacurra Centre. We have followed up several times since and have not received that information. Room size is a key part of the HSE’s argument for closing the centre.”
According to Mr Quaide, if the proposed closure of the centre goes ahead with no further residential service plan, the alternative facilities for East Cork residents requiring these placements into the future will be scattered to high-support hostels and ward-based settings in other parts of Co Cork and in Cork City with negative effects.
“This is at odds with Mental Health Commission guidance and the HSE’s own policy on the rehabilitation of this client group, which is meant to be local and community-based.”
The centre currently has 19 patients, many of whom have lived there for many years.
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