Sruthán House future secure
There has been widespread welcome for the news that Sruthán House, which provides respite care for people in Dundalk, is to remain open.
Service users and their families had highlighted their concerns earlier this year when it emerged that the centre had been earmarked for closure by the HSE.
Confirmation that the centre will remain open came last week following a review, when Jude O'Neill HSE CH08 Social Care Area Manager met with local public representatives in Darver.
Independent Councillor Maeve Yore said she was 'delighted' that Sruthán House will remain open. She said they had been told that was carried out as, at present, Sruthán House doesn't cater for those with complex needs, doesn't meet the needs of young adults transferring from children's respite, does not reflect development in respite care provision and doesn't have the capacity to expand due to its location.
The briefing heard that a Steering Group will be established comprising of HSE, Irish Wheelchair Association and those who avail of respite and a Project Plan will be put in place early next year.
'There is a need increase capacity from 3 to 4 beds, extend the opening hours over 7 days, review the referral process, introduce a range of local non residential respite, work to develop the service in Louth in partnership with Meath, and to evolve the service to meet those with increasing and complex needs.
Cllr Yore welcomed the news and acknowledged the work of Mr O'Neill and his team, the consultation between those availing of respite and staff, and the commitment shown by Independent colleague Finian McGrath Minister for Disabilities to find solutions for Sruthán. She pointed out that Sruthán House is 23 years old and is the only respite house for people with physical or sensory disability in Louth so it's important it evolves and reaches its potential for all who need it in the years to come."
Fianna Fáil TD Declan Breathnach also welcomed the fact that Sruthán House will remain open and describing it as a victory for the services users and families.
'I'm delighted for all the users of Sruthán House and their families that Minister Harris and McGrath have now reversed the decision to close the service. It was unbelievable that people were originally told they would have to travel to Sligo, Roscommon and Dublin to avail of the same services.'
He added that the 'HSE's consultation was very beneficial and outlined how important Sruthán House was to its users and families. Not only has the service been saved but its recognised that Sruthán House needs to increase its bed capacity and needs to open 7 days a week and I hope this can happen as soon as possible.'