The HSE has been accused of betraying the residents of the Rosalie Unit, a facility for adults with mental health issues in Castlerea, by families who say they will fight plans to close the unit.
Minister for Communications Denis Naughten has confirmed, to the Irish Times, that he will attend a public meeting in the town to night as relatives of those living in Unit reacted angrily to a HSE suggestion that their care needs would be better served elsewhere.
Minister Denis Naughten, lobbied Minister for Health Simon Harris on the Unit’s future last week, and is under pressure locally to keep the facility open to the 12 residents in it at present.
Liam Walsh, whose mother, Breda (83), has been living in the Rosalie Unit since 2009, said Mr Naughten had told a public meeting last February that the unit would not close while he was part of the government.
Mr Naughten lost the Fine Gael whip after voting against the government decision to close the emergency department of Roscommon hospital in 2011.
Recently Tony Canavan of HSE West told a meeting with local representatives that a report completed on the unit indicated that better care for residents could be provided in a different setting and said the unit was set for closure. However, he said before a final decision is made the report was being reviewed by a medical expert.
Mr Walsh pointed out that there were 33 residents in the unit when his mother moved in and said following a decision to stop all new admissions in September 2016, the number had dropped to 12. “They have been trying to close it by stealth,” he insisted.
We believe they want this building for something else, but we are prepared to keep fighting
Mr Naughten confirmed he would raise the issue this week with the Taoiseach and said he would continue to press Mr Harris and Minister of State Jim Daly in relation to the unit.
In response to a query on the unit by Fianna Fail deputy Euergene Murphy last week in the Dail, Minister Jim Daly’s response concurred with the likely closure of the unit as a residential facility.
The public meeting will take place in Hester's Golden Eagle Lounge this evening at 8.30pm