Closure of Knocknamona residential unit ‘extremely concerning’ - Doherty
Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty has today (Wednesday) branded the closure of the children and young people’s residential unit at Knocknamona in Letterkenny as ‘extremely concerning’ and has called on the relevant authorities to explain what lead to the decision to shut the facility.
Deputy Doherty’s expressed concern that a number of children who had resided in the care of the state at Knocknamona have been moved more than 200 miles away at just 24 hours notice.
Deputy Doherty has now demanded urgent answers from the Child and Family Agency TUSLA to explain the closure and to outline what measures have been put in place to ensure the welfare of service users.
Deputy Doherty said:
“Over the course of the weekend, I was quite concerned to learn of the sudden closure of the Knocknamona Residential Care unit and the subsequent decision to transfer residents to alternative accommodation outside the county.
“Worryingly, I believe that some of the children who had been staying at the unit in Letterkenny were forced to relocate to care facilities more than 200 miles away as part of this action, having been given a mere 24 hours’ notice prior to the move.
“It’s extremely concerning to think that some of the most vulnerable children and young people, who have come to settle into life at the facility and which they referred to as their home, can be ordered to up sticks and leave and move to a unit several counties away to be housed in strange settings in a strange community.
“At the very start of this week, I contacted to inquire about the closure of Knocknamona, and while I was initially given assurances that I would be provided with a comprehensive update of the situation, I have yet to hear anything more from the agency – this is simply unacceptable and I will be following up with TUSLA to demand answers.
“I cannot understand the rationale of the authorities responsible in their making this decision which, in effect, has turned the lives of these children upside down without so much as an explanation having yet been given as to why residential services have been suspended.
“While I await a reply from the child and family agency, I have also yesterday written to HIQA to ask the authority for the findings of the most recent inspection carried out at the facility which I hope may shed some much needed light on why the decision to transfer residents was made.”