Senator Maura Hopkins has said that the closure of St. Joseph’s Mental Health Day Centre in Ballaghaderreen is a temporary measure.
The Fine Gael Senator said that the facility has been closed due to staffing issues but that it is expected to re-open on the 18th of April.
Tony Canavan, who is Chief Health Officer, Community Health Organisation in the HSE advised Senator Hopkins that arrangements are in place to facilitate service users with access to alternative services in the Castlerea Training Centre, Castlerea Day Centre and also the Osnaman Day Centre in Ballaghaderreen.
Senator Hopkins stated: “I have concerns regarding this temporary closure which I have raised at length with Tony Canavan and Minister for Mental Health, Helen McEntee.
“I am very disappointed that due to staffing issues this service had to close temporarily and has meant service users have to access services in other locations. This should not be the case.
“There should be proper procedures in place to deal with situations like this to avoid the need to close the service. It is very important that we are able to deliver the best possible mental health service on a continuous basis for service users.”
Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice said that local politicians are being ignored by the HSE on this issue. He commented: “People may remember some months ago that the HSE denied that they were to close any Day Care Centres in County Roscommon, yet people who attended the centre in Ballaghaderreen which deals with mental health services last Friday found that the unit there was closed.
“The reason they were given was staff shortages. We understand that that those staff shortages have been sorted out but the centre in Ballaghaderreen has not re-opened,” he said.
Deputy Fitzmaurice said that, in addition to local people, the Syrian refugees who recenty arrived in Ballaghaderreen could require the services involved.
“As far as I can see the HSE are out of control and a law unto themselves and we have local Government representatives, a Government Minister and a party who are supporting the Government and they are all seemingly powerless and unaware of what’s going on in this situation,” he concluded.