Naughten bids to keep dementia centre open in his constituency
A deal is being negotiated to retain a health unit in a Government minister's constituency despite concerns expressed by the HSE.
Communications Minister Denis Naughten has sought assurances from Cabinet colleague Jim Daly about a unit for people with Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
The Rosalie in Castle, Co Roscommon, is home to 12 residents, and fears have emerged that the centre would be closed prematurely, which was met with a fierce public backlash. The unit has not been accepting residents since September 2016, and it is currently planned that it will be wound down.
Tony Canavan, the HSE's chief officer in the west, has said he believes the needs of the patients may be best met elsewhere.
Family members of residents have strongly opposed this, and an independent review of assessments is due to be carried out. However, it is understood that Mr Naughten has sought a pause on the assessment process.
Mr Canavan said he was not aware of any correspondence between public representatives or ministers.
But asked about the potential pause on assessment, he said: "If a minister is committing to something that we don't believe is in the best interests of our patients, it will be our job to tell him that."
The HSE plans to retain the building for healthcare provision, but no decision has been made as to what it will be used for.
At a public meeting on Monday, Mr Naughten apologised to the families and residents of the unit and described their treatment as "unacceptable".
Mr Naughten is seeking the appointment of independent advocates for some residents and the retention of the unit for the care of older people.