Activity at the site of the new St Colman’s Care Centre on Achill Island was at a standstill last week, following recent works which were met by protesters blocking access to the site.
Located at the old Franciscan monastery in Bunnacurry, earlier this month protesters had blocked attempts by contractors to access the site of the new centre, and recommence the project which has been stalled since early 2011.
The blockade was in support of local contractor Eugene Doran, who claims he is owed money for work completed on the site before work ceased. Mr Doran was sub-contracted directly by the main contractors for the project - Cordil Construction - to carry out the groundworks on the site. He claims he was not paid for his work by Cordil Construction before they went into receivership.
The HSE have stated that they owe no money whatsoever to Mr Doran/Dooniver Plant Hire or any other party in respect of works on the new Care Centre. In a statement, the HSE stated; “Dooniver Plant Hire claims that the HSE owes it the cost of materials that it provided to the then works contractor, Cordil Construction Limited. The HSE owes no debt to Dooniver or any other party in respect of the works. Dooniver’s employer Cordil became insolvent and is now being wound up. The HSE has paid all sums due in respect of the works and is not responsible for how Cordil may have addressed its own obligations to Dooniver. The HSE has repeatedly stated to Dooniver and Eugene Doran that if they consider that the HSE owes them money they are entitled to bring proceedings against the HSE to claim that money, but neither party has done so.”
Last week, St Colman’s Care Centre Limited, which has been the driving force behind the new St Colman’s development, had stated to The Mayo News that the actions of the protesters is putting the project in jeopardy. The appealed to everyone involved to stop the protesting.
They also explained that their role in the project involved working with the HSE management and other agencies to establish the service need and plan appropriate facilities, secure a suitable site and a full package of funding for the development. They stated that they are not directly involved in the contractual aspects of the project.
“The HSE are the contracting agency for the development and St Colman’s Care Centre Ltd, neither had in the past or currently has any responsibility or involvement in the contractual aspects of the new development.
“Community and voluntary services are only funded by the State where the local community are pro-active in supporting and developing the projects. The blockading of the site in Bunacurry and the resultant disruption to the site works is seriously jeopardising the future of St Colman’s. St Colman’s Care Centre Ltd Board of Directors is appealing to everyone involved to stop this activity immediately. It is important that everyone works together to ensure the continuation of this valuable and long standing service.”
The current St Colman’s Care Centre is located in Keel. The building in which it is located has served the community well for over 80 years, but was deemed unfit for purpose in 2001. St Colman’s Care Centre Limited say the new development in Bunnacurry ‘will ensure that older people and people with chronic illness and disability are enabled to remain living in their own homes and within their own community through access to essential services at local level’.
However, they stated that with cutbacks being implemented nationally, the ongoing continuation of funding is dependent on the relocation of services to the new development.
“The ongoing cut-backs in vital services nationally has increased the need for and demands on locally based voluntary support services, such as St Colman’s. However, these services are also under increasing financial monitoring by the State. The continuation of revenue funding for nursing and health care support staff in St Colman’s is highly dependent on the re-location of the service to the new facility in Bunnacurry. The loss of this service would have a negative impact for the large number of service users, and also for their families and carers.”
One of the protesters told The Mayo News that the local community are not against the project but feel that a resolution with Eugene Doran needs to be found before work commences. He added that if this does not happen they will continue to block access to the site if work recommences.
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