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Councillor critical of decision to close St John’s Residential Home

15 August, 2008

Sinn Féin councillor Liam Johnston has criticised the decision by the South Eastern Trust to close St John's residential Home in Downpatrick.

Accusing the Trust is of duplicity, Councillor Johnston said:

"When Sinn Féin broke the news two years ago that this facility would be closed the Trust denied that this was their intention.

"At that time we were accused of scare mongering and of upsetting the elderly residents who live there.

"Two years later and we now see that the information Sinn Féin made public was accurate and we now see exactly who is upsetting residents.

"Certainly, when St John's Home was built, the building was not fashioned for a long life. That building now needs replaced.

"However, the Ministers statement, in which he expressed support for the Trust's decision for closure, suggests that St John's is to be replaced with a joint public-private facility by 2010.

"The long term value of partnerships of this nature for the tax-payer has never been established nor is it proven that tax payers accrue any savings from such a venture.

"Indeed, and more importantly, experience shows that the workers caring for the elderly suffer lower wages and poorer working conditions.

"The lower morale arising out of these can impact on the quality of care.

"Sinn Féin looks forward to the provision of a new building but it would be remiss not to highlight our disappointment at the direction the South Eastern Trust is going." ENDS

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