New funding for existing public residential care centres always welcome but questions arise – Ó Caoláin
In a reserved reaction to the announcement by Minister of State Kathleen Lynch TD of an additional €237million to be spent on upgrading or replacing existing residential care settings for older persons, Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Health Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has questioned the timing of the announcement with very likely but two further sitting days of the Dáil remaining before the General Election is called and the fact that there is uncertainty regarding the future of a number of public nursing home facilities that may now be replaced by a Public Private Partnership arrangement and with no guarantee of their remaining in the immediate catchment of their current location.
“This will give rise to concerns in a number of locations” Deputy Ó Caoláin stated.
The Sinn Féin Health spokesperson said;
“While an additional 215 long stay residential care beds are to be prioritised across six locations in counties Dublin, Louth, Donegal and Galway, the need is there for multiples of this commitment and across every county in the country.
“This announcement and the fact that €148million of the €385million referred to in the Minister’s Press Release is already in the current capital plan places its overall worth and timing into question with there being likely only two further sitting days of the current Dáil before the General Election is called. Why was this announcement not made in 2015 or earlier?
“There is also the matter of those public residential care settings that are now earmarked for possible Public Private Partnership arrangements and what impact this might have on their status going forward. There is also no guarantee that those identified locations will be the location of the signalled replacement new build, some of which will not be in service until 2021, a full five years away.
“Its all very fine of this Government in its dying days making commitments that it will very likely have no role in overseeing. Given its abysmal record of delivering on the commitments made in the opening days of its coming to office in 2011 people could be forgiven for having some scepticism regarding this Government’s true commitment and capacity to deliver” concluded Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin.