Cashel na Cor to open on a limited basis
A flexible panel of emergency staff should be recruited to prevent further closures of Inishowen day centres.
This was the view of Cllr Rena Donaghey, as the HSE announced the re-opening of Cashel na Cor in Buncrana, which provides day services for young adults with learning disabilities.
The delivery of day services was severely curtailed at Cashel na Cor at the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020. Initially this was for six months.
Cllr Donaghey said: “When the young people got their vaccinations, they went back to Cashel na Cor, but they only got going back for two days per week, as the service provision was not open full-time.
“Then the Hallowe'en holidays came and Cashel na Cor was closed again. Then, there was a Covid-19 outbreak in a community facility in Carndonagh and the staff were taken from Inishowen's three day centres, two in Carndonagh and one in Buncrana, and, as a result, the three day centres were closed.
“Staff were deployed to the residential centre in Carndonagh, which, of course, also needed to be catered for.
“But, it was far from ideal to close the three centres down and take the staff away and put new staff into care for vulnerable people who did not even know them. I asked at the time about a contingency plan but there did not seem to be one
“The contingency plan seems to be, if there is a Covid-19 outbreak, leave the young people at home with their elderly parents and carers, which is not satisfactory.”
According to Rena Donaghey, people deemed to be Category One are in Cashel na Cor two days a week.
She added: “I think we should have no Category Ones. Everybody should be categorised the same, because if they need to be in Cashel na Cor, they need to be in Cashel na Cor.
“It is currently open for Category Ones, a very limited number but not in for full five days a week for them. The HSE has contacted me to say Cashel na Cor is opening on Monday (November 22) for everybody, but clients will still only be in two days a week.
“Two days a week is totally unsatisfactory. I have been involved in Cashel na Cor since the first sod was turned and we fought tooth and nail to get it to the state-of-the-art centre it is today.
“Users love it and it can house 42 people. It should be fully staffed, regardless of Covid outbreaks in other centres.
“People are being offered places in Letterkenny. Why should the services be centralised to Letterkenny?
“The situation is highly unsatisfactory. All of the young people are vaccinated and in bubbles of five so, even if there is an outbreak, they don't all have to be sent home. Only the bubble needs to go home.
“There needs to be a flexible panel of emergency staff, who can be placed where needed.
“I am fighting this tooth and nail and will keep doing so for the young people and their families.”
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