Monday 22 July 2019

Castlegardens residents voice their concerns over lack of services

Brendan Keane

Residents in the Castle Gardens Retirement village in Enniscorthy have expressed frustration and anger to this newspaper about lack of access to facilities that they feel they should be able to avail of as part of the overall Castle Gardens site.

The site is also home to Castle Garden's Nursing Home and the residents in the retirement village say they cannot access any of the services provided there such as chiropody despite offering to pay for it themselves.

They also highlighted a number of other issues that they feel should be addressed such as having a community centre type location to hold meetings of their resident's association.

One of the residents, Stephen De Roiste, said there are a number of other issues that need to be addressed.

'We raised a number of points with Barty O'Connor who is the man who oversees the running of the estate,' said Mr De Roiste.

He said a second pedestrian crossing outside the main gate is vital for the safety of residents.

'This would give them the ability to cross safely as their ability to move is generally very slow,' he said.

Mr De Roiste also said that some of the lights in the compound are not working all the time and there is no meals-on-wheels service to the retirement village as it is located too far out of town.

'There are elderly people here who need at least a few nutritious meals each week and residents feel they are not being provided with adequate information regarding optional services available,' said Mr De Roiste.

He said that such is the division between the nursing home and the retirement village units that when the memory care centre was officially opened recently in the nursing home the first the residents in the retirement village knew about it was when they read about it in this newspaper.

The residents also feel that the focus of the units was changed from letting to independent living and that many of them went there on the basis that it was 'a proper retirement village' with the services that would provide.

When this newspaper contacted Barty O'Connor, from DNG O'Connor & O'Connor, Bunclody, about the residents' concerns he said he manages 52 independent living units for the owner and that the nursing home and the units are 'completely separate bodies'.

Mr O'Connor said they were always independent living units and nothing else.

However, he said the plans of the original owners may have been to have facilities like meals-on-wheels available but when he was asked to take over they were never offered as services.

'It's a Mowlam site but I work for a Mowlam section of the business,' he said, while pointing out that the nursing home is completely separate to the units.

The residents say that because the focus on the units went from 'retirement village' to independent living units there are issues with some of the tenants being placed in them.

In response to that Mr O'Connor said: 'They are good tenants in general and some issues do arise on occasion but they are dealt with. There will always be some little issues arising.'

Mr O'Connor also said the tenants in the units are 'living the dream' in terms of value-for-money.

'It's unfortunate that it's a mile outside town,' he said.

'But people make their choice as to where they want to live,' he added.

He also pointed out that issues like meals-on-wheels have nothing to do with him and he agreed that pedestrian crossings would be very welcome at the site but added that was a matter for the residents and the local authority.

'Mowlam has invested a lot in the site including funding a landscaper and there is also a maintenance person there and wheelie bins are provided,' said Mr O'Connor.

'I think it's going quite well,' he added.

Mr O'Connor said it would be beneficial if there was a better bus link to the site as it would make access to town easier for residents.

'But again, that is another political matter,' he said.

'They are independent living units and they are not linked to Castle Gardens and they [the residents] are aware of that,' he added.

'Everything is being addressed on a gradual basis.'

Enniscorthy Guardian