HSE Funding Cut Forces Closure

The families of 63 people with intellectual disabilities have spoken of their dismay following the HSE's decision to close a respite house in Co. Limerick. 

The Brothers of Charity facility at Bawnmore was forced to close this week after the HSE cut its funding by more than €1 million. This service allowed individuals from all over County Limerick, who attend Brothers of Charity community day centres, to stay for a couple of nights to give the individual and their family a break. 

“They have left us high and dry. What am I to do at my age? If I get sick in the morning I’ll have to land him out to the hospital. I’m heartbroken.”

Sarah Hurley from Limerick city, whose son John is 43, expressed her concerns for the future following the closure. “I’m so upset it has come to this,” she said. “They have left us high and dry. What am I to do at my age? If I get sick in the morning I’ll have to land him out to the hospital. I’m heartbroken.”

Margaret Healy from Ballyagran, Co Limerick, whose son Edward is 44, said the cuts were a disgrace. “Edward has no one if anything ever happened to me; his sister is away and married and has her own family. God forbid I should get sick and there is no back-up. A lot of the parents are elderly. It’s very stressful on all of us.”

Reacting to the closure, Fine Gael TD Michael Noonan expressed his solidarity with the 63 families affected by the closure. “I thinks it’s extraordinary that a Government which has a budget of €55 billion always seems to go after the most vulnerable in society when they are looking for minor savings,” he said.

A protest took place outside the offices of Minister of State Peter Power at the weekend, but nevertheless the closure went ahead as planned.