Doherty hits out at suspension of Keadue centre

Vulnerable and elderly people in north Roscommon are furious at the suspension of services at a day care centre at Keadue, Fianna Fáil councillor Rachel Doherty has said.

  It has emerged that, from March 31, St. Asicus Centre is in danger of closure because of its funding being pulled. The centre is funded by the Department of Social Protection and managed by Pobal.

  Cllr. Doherty said that the centre was invaluable to people, many of whom were transported there by a special bus service. 

  “Around, 200 dinners go out there a week to local people in the community and 20 people go in there to have their dinner every day,” she said.

  “They are collected at 9.30 in the morning and they are there until 4.30 in the afternoon. They have tea and scones and play bingo in the afternoon, as any community centre does.”

  Cllr. Doherty said that the the centre was informed that its funding would be withdrawn from the end of this month. They appealed the decision, but it was unsuccessful, she said.

  People at the Cootehall, Knockvicar and Ballyfarnon areas were furious with the decision, she said.

  “They are absolutely upset. It is disappointed for all of the people who use the service,” Cllr. Doherty said. “They can’t understand why funding has been pulled. The cut of funding is totally unjustified.”

  In a statement, Pobal said that the Community Services Programme (CSP) gives grants to community businesses that deliver services and create employment for people from disadvantaged groups.

  A spokesman said that Pobal did not routinely comment on the specifics of individual situation.

  However, he added: “In any cases where it becomes apparent that service providers are not complying with the agreed criteria of the programme, Pobal engages and works with that service to offer them advice and guidance on what needs to be done to correct any irregularities.

  “In rare circumstances, where repeated engagement fails to rectify the situation, Pobal is obliged to recommend to the Department of Social Protection that funding be withdrawn.

  “Pobal regrets any instances where this has occurred.”

  The spokesman said that the Department were in discussions with the Local Development Company with a view to examining service provision in the area.