Fine Gael Longford Westmeath Senator, Gabrielle McFadden, has received confirmation from the Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Helen McEntee, that St Vincent’s Community Care Centre will reopen in the coming months.
“As soon as St Vincent’s Community Care Centre announced its temporary closure due to an electrical report highlighting a fire risk, I contacted the HSE, the Minister for Health Simon Harris and the Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Helen McEntee, to seek assurances for patients and their families.
“Minister Helen McEntee has confirmed to me in writing today that this closure is just temporary, and that St Vincent’s Community Care Centre will reopen in the coming months, as soon as the works are complete and we can be sure that there is no risk to patients and staff.
“It was an unfortunate but necessary measure to close the centre temporarily, as the HSE could not have a situation where patients and staff were at risk.
“I accept that safety must come first and I applaud the efforts of the HSE to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of patients. However I will fight tooth and nail to ensure there is no repetition of the Loughloe House situation, which I campaigned against at the time.
“I am glad to hear that St Vincent’s Centre is going to reopen as soon as the works are complete and I will keep in touch with the two relevant Ministers to ensure this can happen as quickly as possible.
“It is positive that a plan B is being implemented quickly, with the moving of patients to St Joseph’s Care Centre, Longford and Birr Community Nursing Unit. I understand that some residents will also be transferred to other public and private nursing homes. In my discussions with the HSE I emphasised the need to keep as many patients as possible close to Athlone.”