The country has been in lockdown for several weeks, but that hasn’t stopped the Irish Wheelchair Association from actively dismantling what’s left of its relationship with the Cuisle Centre in Donamon.
On a number of occasions over recent weeks – stretching back to April, and continuing up to as recently as this week – removal personnel have called to the Cuisle Centre to remove items.
Last November, the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) closed down the Cuisle Holiday & Respite Centre at Donamon, Co. Roscommon. The decision stunned service users, staff and the wider community, and led to a massive outcry locally and nationally. Appeals for the IWA to reverse its decision or at least agree to a ‘stay of execution’ fell on deaf ears.
Now, six months on, some local people – while under no illusions about the vexatious ending of the IWA presence in Donamon – are less than pleased to see the process of removing items from the Cuisle Centre taking place during a pandemic, at a time when travel is restricted and when the community is hurting.
“It’s insensitive at best” one disgruntled local man told the Roscommon People. “Removal people have been taking items from the Cuisle building over various days…if you ask me, they’re using the ‘cover of Covid’ in order to do this as discreetly as possible”.
Our photographs (taken earlier this week) show a number of men removing items and placing them into the back of a lorry. The items include mattresses, tables and chairs. There is no suggestion that any of this conduct is contrary to HSE Covid-related guidelines.
But local people are not impressed. While not specifically referring to items that have been removed in recent weeks, locals have reiterated that the people of Co. Roscommon raised a lot of funds for the IWA over the years. They point out that local IWA volunteers organised numerous fundraisers in Co. Roscommon over the years, and that these events were generously supported by the public.
“There’s a lot of ill feeling towards the IWA and the shocking way they have handled this fiasco,” a source said. “The loss of the service for service-users – that’s the big issue. That and the job losses. It also sticks in the craw to see items being removed when we all know how much of taxpayers’ money – and local fundraising – was provided for the IWA when it was here”.
On Monday, the Roscommon People attempted to contact the IWA but we were unable to do so.