A RELATIVE of one of the residents of the Owenacurra Centre in East Cork has insisted she will fight against any attempt to remove him from the facility.
There has been a long-running campaign against the planned closure of the centre in Midleton, which offers residential care for people with significant mental health challenges.
A decision to close the centre was made in June of last year and was followed by a public hearing on the issue in December.
Some residents of the centre have already been moved to other facilities in Cork, but family members of the remaining residents continue to fight to keep them at the centre.
Speaking to The Echo, Maureen O’Sullivan, whose brother resides at Owenacurra, said that family members of residents who remain are “putting their foot down” and do not want their relatives to be moved elsewhere.
A family meeting with management representatives was held on August 23 to discuss accommodation alternatives, but Ms O’Sullivan said that the residents “should not be moving out of their area”.
“They are actually downgrading the services by moving them elsewhere.”
Ms O’Sullivan said that some residents of the Midleton facility are at various stages of being transferred to Unit 3 of St Stephen’s Hospital outside Glanmire.
She said that while family members of the remaining residents have not been given a move-out date or been told they must leave, they are “scared that they are going to come in and just close the doors one day”.
Green Party councillor, Liam Quaide, who has been advocating for the centre to remain open, said: “A move from Owenacurra could only be justified if it was to a better quality premises and service.
“Alternative placements offered to some residents in recent weeks involve substandard ward-based settings with shared instead of single rooms, and poor connection with a local community.
“Other community houses mentioned to families have fewer staff and therefore will not provide enough support to meet the rehabilitation needs of some residents.
“I’m conveying my concerns about this haphazard and inadequate service plan to the Mental Health Commission and the Health Committee.”