Owenacurra meeting to be confirmed
Members of the Oireachtas Health Committee voted to postpone an in-session meeting on the closure of the Owenacurra Centre in Cork this week.
Before the meeting started, several members had expressed concern that the time allocation of just one hour was not sufficient for such an important issue.
The call to postpone was also due to the absence of many of the senior members of the HSE who were due to address the committee but were unable to attend due to their involvement in the response to storm Barra. Green Party TD for Dublin Central Neasa Hourigan proposed the postponement, saying the allocated time was far too short to discuss the impact the closure would have on people’s lives.
Deputy Hourigan said she had “real concerns” around the level of information members had already received regarding the closure and that she was still waiting on a number of parliamentary questions from the Department of Health and the HSE. She suggested the meeting be rescheduled for an agreed date.
Her proposal was passed with five in favour and three against, the latter including Cork North Central TD Colm Burke who felt the meeting should have gone ahead in the time given and then resumed at a later date.
In June, the HSE announced that the Owenacurra Centre, a long-term mental health care in Midleton, which is home to 19 residents, was to close. Families of residents were told the building was no longer fit for purpose and their loved ones, some of whom had been at the centre for 20 years, would be transferred to alternative facilities in the county.
The validity of the reasoning behind the closure has been called into question by a number of local representatives who called on the Oireachtas Health Committee to examine the impact of the closure.
In a letter to the committee, East Cork Cllr Liam Quaide wrote: “The public focus has rightly been on the current residents and their families. The loss of the service for the broader cohort of service users with this level of need across East Cork also calls for immediate political attention.”
The new date for the postponed Oireachtas Health Committee meeting is yet to be confirmed.