Louth Sinn Fein TD Gerry Adams has received a letter from the HSE stating its intention to construct a new residential unit for older people in Ardee, rather than upgrading the existing St Joseph’s Nursing Home.
Adams said: “Over recent years I have consistently raised the need to upgrade St Joseph’s Nursing Home to ensure compliance with HIQA safety standards.
“In 2013 a refurbishment plan was put in place to bring St. Joseph's up to HIQA Environmental Standards by 2015.
“At that time it was anticipated that a planning application would be made swiftly and that a contractor would be appointed before the end of 2014. Actual construction was expected to take between 6 months and a year to complete.
“Based on the HSE’s own timeframe the residents of St Joseph’s should currently be living in a HIQA compliant facility yet my most recent communication from the HSE states that the focus is now ‘on the provision of a new unit, rather than the refurbishment of the original building.’
“The HSE has further informed me that the new premises will be located on the current site and I have sought additional information regarding the allocated funding, the proposed design and the construction timescale involved.
"This new unit is good news for St Joseph's and its future occupants, however the HSE anticipates that the new unit will not be operational before 2021. In light of this I have written to the HSE to find out how it will ensure that the current building achieves HIQA compliance to guarantee the comfort and safety of residents.
“My office contacted St Joseph's on foot of this news and I am satisfied that the HSE has communicated this change of direction to the people living and working there. The St Joseph’s community mounted a very successful support campaign in the past and it is essential that they are fully consulted regarding this new departure.
"I've visited St Joseph's numerous times and it is evident that the staff there do a fantastic job. A purpose built, modern facility is nothing less than the staff and resident's deserve and look forward to monitoring its construction."
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