Wednesday, 22 September 2021
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla — Topical Issue Debate
Mental Health Services
I thank the Deputy. Improving all aspects of mental health service delivery is a priority for me, the Government as a whole and the HSE, in line with the executive's national service plan 2021. This includes continued collaboration between relevant agencies and service users to ensure that quality and standards in our mental health facilities are further improved in line with best practice and recommendations. With regard to Owenacurra, the most important issue is the safety and welfare of the current residents first and foremost. There is clear consensus that the current building is not fit for purpose and cannot be brought to the standard required. It is a building of its time. However, I take on board the Deputy's point that this was the facility in east Cork where people with mental health illness were able to live and engage within the community.
The HSE has a plan in place to close the centre on a phased basis and ensure clear and open channels of communication are maintained with the individuals residing in the centre and their support networks. I know many concerns were raised in the sub-committee and by the Deputy about the fact that 31 October is approaching quickly and perhaps not everyone will be in the best place, facility, home, hospital or nursing home for his or her care. Last night, the mental health lead in the area informed me that 31 October is the deadline but if there are still residents in the facility on that date, the service will continue to work with families to get the right places for them.
It is imperative that a temporary premises is found immediately so that people who use the day-care centre will be able to receive supports in the community.