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Sinn Féin meet with Down Health Committee to discuss future of St John's Home

26 February, 2007

Sinn Féin South Down Assembly election candidate Cllr Eamon McConvey has criticised the decision to close St John's Residential Care Home in Downpatrick.

Speaking after Cllr McConvey, Cllr Liam Johnston and Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún met with members of Down Health Committee before visiting St Johns, Cllr McConvey described the decision as "shortsighted" and said that Sinn Féin will do all within its power to ensure the future of care for the elderly in the district.

Cllr McConvey continued:

"The view amongst most local people is that the Trust had decided to close St John's and that the consultation process was little more than a sham exercise.

"It was agreed after Friday's meeting that Bairbre de Brún MEP will ask the Eastern Health and Social Services Board not to deal with the matter at their meeting of March 7 in order to facilitate local elected representatives who wish to make representations on behalf of their constituents.

"St John's home is a vitally important amenity that should remain open and needs to be upgraded yet this does not seem to be a consideration for the bureaucrats who are determined to force its closure.

"The loss of St John's would be a major blow for Downpatrick and the people of South Down and points to a policy that is based on the privatisation of elderly healthcare.

"It is widely expected that once the new Downe hospital opens on the Ardglass Road, that St John's will be sold along with the site of the old Hospital. This is a very shortsighted policy that has been governed by the desire to cut beds. The process has been flawed from the beginning and will impact detrimentally on the health of many elderly people from Down District." ENDS

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