Members of Castlebar Town Council last week passed a motion calling on An Taoiseach Enda Kenny to give a firm commitment to make the Sacret Heart Home in the town ‘fully operational’ and guarantee that it will not be downgraded or closed.
The four Fine Gael members of the council voted against Independent Cllr Frank Durcan’s motion. However, the support of Harry Barrett (Labour), Therese Ruane (Sinn Féin), Blackie Gavin (Fianna Fáil) and Michael Kilcoyne (Independent) saw Cllr Durcan’s motion pass.
Cllr Ger Deere (Fine Gael) saw his amendment to the motion – which called on Minister of Health Dr James Reilly to issue a report on the Fair Deal Nursing Homes Support Scheme – defeated as a consequence.
In articulating his motion, Cllr Durcan described the Sacred Heart Home, located at the junction of the Pontoon and Turlough Roads in Castlebar, as ‘one of the best care providers in the country’.
“They’ve gone from 320 beds to less than 200 and the doctor attached there has left and not been replaced … They are now dependent on phoning West Doc when a doctor is needed, which is outlandish in the extreme,” said Cllr Durcan.
In fact The Mayo News has learned that the Sacred Heart currently only houses 84 long-stay patients and in the region of 30-36 in their rehabilitation ward.
Cllr Eugene McCormack (Fine Gael) said that much of the problems that have enveloped the Sacred Heart in recent years stem from the Fair Deal programme. It states that long-term care should be affordable and that a person should receive the same level of state support whether they choose a public, voluntary or private nursing home. This, he argued, meant that people were opting for private nursing homes where possible.
However Cllr Michael Kilcoyne dismissed the comment out of hand. “I’ve heard many excuses for government cuts but that beats them all,” he said.
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