There was fear amongst parents and relations of Sligo people with learning difficulties yesterday as rumours spread that several respite centres were to close
as part of a cutback strategy by the Health Service Executive (HSE) and Department of
The centres provide a daily respite service for those with learning
disability and autism and based in Sligo, Leitrim and West Cavan.
Frantic phonecalls and 'chatter' on online social media called for
action from the public. In Tubbercurry concerned relations of the
service users were beginning to draw up plans to raise the necessary
funds to take over Mullholland House and run it in a private capacity.
It is understood that a similar proposal was being considered by those
dependent on the services provided by Suaimhneas Respite House based on
the Pearse Road in Sligo town.
Solas House, Sligo Town was also believed to be facing closure and the
cessation of the vital respite services. This centre was opened in
Novemeber 2009. See SligoToday.ie 24/11/09
However it emerged yesterday afternoon that the scare may have been
sparked by a letter received by staff at the centres announcing staff
changes proposals which are to be implemented.
Mrs Ann Killoran from Tubbercurry, a parent of a service user told
, "We thought Mullholland House was to close. It appears
that the staff got a bit confused over a letter they received about
their jobs. Somebody thought the centre was being closed."
A relieved Mrs Killoran continued, "Its all OK now, a HSE lady has just
explained everything and said she will call back in two to three weeks
to keep us abreast at what's happening. She explained that she had to
have meetings with the staff's union but there was no question of
Mullholland House closing.
"Its a great relief as we have had a great service for the last 16 years."
'Ongoing Recruitment Moratorium'
The HSE confirmed to SligoToday.ie
yesterday evening that there are no planned closures of HSE respite services.
However the Executive did confirm that they are looking at the way they
currently deliver respite services and are considering alternative ways
of providing support.
The staffing numbers, they said, have reduced due to retirements and
the ongoing recruitment moratorium and they are currently exploring all
options to continue to safely provide a service while also minimising
the impact on the people using the services.
According to the statement, "The HSE is committed to the continued
delivery of safe, high quality services to individuals receiving
Learning Disability and Autism Services in Sligo, Leitrim and West Cavan
in partnership with service users and their families/carers, staff, and
senior HSE management.
The statement continued, "We have started consultation with unions and
staff representatives on potential changes to the service to ensure we
deliver the required services in line with our service plan. As part of
this process, we will engage with service users and families prior to
any public statement on changes.
"The Aoibhneas Day Centre in Ballymote will be relocated as the current
lease agreement has been terminated by the landlord. An alternative day
service is being sought in consultation with the service users who
attend Aoibhneas Day Centre."
The HSE provides respite service at Mulholland House, Tubbercurry and
Solas House, Sligo Town. Suaimhneas Respite House based on the Pearse
Road, Sligo. Solas House is currently occupied with children for the summer period
who have significant respite or shared care needs.