FAMILIES of Owenacurra Centre residents have organised a public meeting on the proposed closure of the service. The public, TDs and councillors have been invited to discuss the impact of the proposed closure on residents as well as the potential loss to the mental health service in East Cork.
In June, Cork Kerry Community Healthcare took the difficult decision to close the Owenacurra Centre in Midleton as the building is not fit for purpose. It is a long-term residential centre for people with mental health difficulties and has 19 residents.
Cork Kerry Community Healthcare said residents, staff and the regulator were informed that the centre will close on a phased basis by October 31.
“Since we informed staff and residents in June, we have been consulting with them on an ongoing basis and this consultation is continuing. This was a difficult decision, but the building which houses the 19 residents is simply not fit for purpose.
"We initially planned to refurbish the building, but as work progressed on those plans it became clear that they would not be enough to bring the building to the high standard which we strive for in all our services and to meet the needs of current and future residents.”
Councillor and clinical psychologist Liam Quaide said that the permanent closure of the facility would be “a regressive move”.
“It would risk undoing many years of painstaking therapeutic progress for current residents. The broader cohort of east Cork service-users who would avail of placement in the Owenacurra Centre into the future will also be disadvantaged,” he said.
The public meeting will hear from family members and will take place tonight at the Midleton Park Hotel. Cork Kerry Community Healthcare said the closure was not planned for the service and while it was a difficult decision, there was no other option.
“We are working with each resident to agree with them an appropriate alternative placement taking account of their preference and individual needs. This work includes consulting with each resident and involving their families and loved ones as appropriate, so we can agree a plan that best meets their requirements.”