Mental Health Minister Mary Butler has confirmed plans to close the Owenacurra mental health facility in Midleton, County Cork, despite local opposition to the plans.
In a letter to the chair of the Oireachtas health committee Seán Crowe, Ms Butler said she would not “engage on this matter any further” after announcing plans to close the facility and move its 11 residents to other services last month, the Irish Examiner reported.
Minister Butler had previously stated: “The HSE decision to transfer services from this centre was not taken lightly and follows serious concerns raised by the Mental Health Commission through their inspection process.”
Ms Butler said inspection reports by the Mental Health Commission found the facility was “not up to the required standard” and “it was not appropriate or viable for the centre to continue operating”.
Having considered refurbishment of the home, the Minister said: “It became clear that even with significant investment into the building, it would still not bring the unit up to an acceptable accommodation standard for residents.”
Despite the Minister’s comments, Mr Crowe once again called for the decision to be overturned, saying: “The reasons advanced by Cork/Kerry HSE for closing this highly valued service would, if applied elsewhere, lead to widespread closures of other mental health facilities, and are not credible grounds for such a drastic service decision.”