Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New HSE low as Centre for Elderly Blind Men closed with loss of 24 staff jobs from St Josephs, Drumcondra

This evening I have learned the appalling news that the Rosminian Order located at the St Josephs Centre for the Visually Impaired and the HSE are to close Clonturk House, a residential facility for elderly blind men.

This closure means that 13 elderly blind men between the ages of 70 and 90 will have to be re-located and 24 staff will have to lose their jobs, as the HSE state they do not have the funds to upgrade the facility.

Only last month, I attended a public meeting where the Rosminian Order explained in great detail their plans to lodge a planning application for the construction of apartment blocks on a seven-acre site within the campus to fund the upgrading of their school. The application is for 7 blocks of 362 apartments ranging in height from four to eight storeys. It is hoped that this development will fund the school building costs of approximately €35million - only €15 million of which was provisionally promised by the Department of Education five years ago with no firm commitment.

No mention was made at any meeting, and I attended two such meetings, of any intention to change the status of the long-serving residents, or that they weren't to be included in the long term plans for the centre. Some of these residents have lived in Clonturk House for 50 years.

I am demanding immediately a full statement from the HSE and the Rosminian Order in relation to this matter and a reversal of this appaling decision, made in a cruel and underhanded fashion with little regard to the residents their carers or the families that care for them.