Louth Sinn Fein TD Gerry Adams has received a letter from the HSE stating its intention to construct a new residential unit for older people in Ardee, rather than upgrading the existing St Joseph’s Nursing Home.
Teachta Adams said;
“Over recent years I have consistently raised the need to upgrade St Joseph’s Nursing Home to ensure compliance with HIQA safety standards.
“In 2013 a refurbishment plan was put in place to bring St. Joseph’s up to HIQA Environmental Standards by 2015.
“At that time it was anticipated that a planning application would be made swiftly and that a contractor would be appointed before the end of 2014. Actual construction was expected to take between 6 months and a year to complete.
“Based on the HSE’s own timeframe the residents of St Joseph’s should currently be living in a HIQA compliant facility yet my most recent communication from the HSE states that the focus is now ‘on the provision of a new unit, rather than the refurbishment of the original building.’
“The HSE has further informed me that the new premises will be located on the current site and I have sought additional information regarding the allocated funding, the proposed design and the construction timescale involved.
“This new unit is good news for St Joseph’s and its future occupants, however the HSE anticipates that the new unit will not be operational before 2021. In light of this I have written to the HSE to find out how it will ensure that the current building achieves HIQA compliance to guarantee the comfort and safety of residents.
“My office contacted St Joseph’s on foot of this news and I am satisfied that the HSE has communicated this change of direction to the people living and working there. The St Joseph’s community mounted a very successful support campaign in the past and it is essential that they are fully consulted regarding this new departure.
“I’ve visited St Joseph’s numerous times and it is evident that the staff there do a fantastic job. A purpose built, modern facility is nothing less than the staff and resident’s deserve and look forward to monitoring its construction.”
Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has expressed concern at the “slow pace of progress toward the refurbishment of St. Joseph’s Ardee.
The Louth TD said:
“I have visited St. Joseph’s Nursing Home many times. It is a long stay facility which currently provides 20 nursing Home Support Scheme beds.
The staff, residents and families are to be commended for their campaign in recent years to defend St. Joseph’s and to ensure that it receives the necessary funding to keep it up to HIQA standards.
Almost two years ago a refurbishment plan was put in place to bring St. Josephs up to HIQA Environmental Standards by this year.
It was expected that a planning application would be made in the following months with a contractor being appointed before the end of 2014. Actual construction was expected to take between 6 months and a year to complete.
In a Parliamentary Question I submitted to the Minister for Health I asked if St. Joseph’s had received its full €750,000 capital investment funding to meet HIQA standards.
In a HSE response to me last week it was confirmed that the capital funding has been allocated “however the HSE are still waiting the granting of full planning permissions from the Louth County Council.”
I have now written to Louth County Manager Joan Martin asking for the Council’s time frame for dealing with planning matters relating to St. Joseph’s. I am concerned that this process has taken too long and that consequently residents are being forced to remain in conditions that do not meet HIQAs standard.”
Gerry Adams TD, Cllr Pearse McGeough & JJ Quigley
Sinn Féin TD for Louth, Gerry Adams and Councillor Pearse McGeough paid a visit to St Joseph’s Nursing Home on Thursday 27th November.
Speaking from Louth Deputy Adams said,
“Sinn Féin has always been supportive of the campaign to retain and enhance St Joseph’s. As part of this on-going campaign I have been in communication with the Minister for Health to ensure that funding is available for essential capital and refurbishment works.
“St Joseph’s must achieve HIQA Environmental Standards by 2015 and the Minister had previously committed funds in the region of €750,000 to realise this.
“There is an onus on the new Health Minister Leo Varadkar to honour this commitment and I will continue to press him to do so.”
Commending the staff of St Joseph’s Gerry Adams said;
“I always enjoy the craic with the staff and residents of St Joseph’s. It is a wonderful facility with an obvious caring and gentle ethos towards vulnerable elderly people.
“Both myself and Councillors Pearse McGeough and Tom Cunningham will maintain regular contact with the staff and management of St Joseph’s to ensure that the service provided there continues into the future.”