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Sinn Féin call on Advocate of Older People to play proactive role regarding Residential Home Closures

25 February, 2009 - by Barry McElduff

Sinn Fein MLA for West Tyrone, and member of the OFMDFM Committee, Barry McElduff, has called on the Advocate of Older People, Joan Harbison to take a proactive role in tackling the closure of Residential Care homes.

Speaking today Mr McElduff said:

"There is a wide concern around surround the threat of Residential Care home closures. The Assembly on Monday passed a motion expressing it opposition to these closure and this week the Interim Commissioner for Older People, Ms Harbison, has stated that she would like to keep abreast of the situation surrounding the closure of residential care homes.

"I would like to publicly call for Ms Harbison, as the Advocate for Older People, to become involved immediately in the process regarding the provision of residential care for older people.

"Ms Harbison is in a position to represent the concerns of this section of our community and not to take an observational or advisory role. As such a keen, proactive approach should be made in relation to this pressing issue.

"If we look for example at Gortmore home it is indicative of so many residential care homes inhabitants who are worrying about their future.

"The home employs 30 people and has 25 full-time residents. Their relatives say that those residents are likely to be dispersed to other privately run homes, but families fear that many will not survive the transition.

"I would invite Ms Harbison to come to Gortmore House and meet first hand with those affected by closures including staff and the residents who view this as their home."

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