Dundalk family devastated at plans to close Sruthan House
The closing of Sruthan House, a respite care home in Dundalk would be a devastating blow for families in the area, according to the sister of one service user.
“Pat gave me the letter last Saturday morning”, said Elizabeth McArdle from Oakland Park. “He didn’t even understand it,” said Elizabeth speaking to the Dundalk Democrat last week.
“‘It doesn’t mean it’s shutting?’, he asked me. There is nothing else available for him. I won’t get any breaks now,” she continued.
Pat McArdle, who turned 50 last April, has an acquired brain injury and has been a service user of Sruthan House, in Ashbrook in Dundalk since 2008.
“He can get about, but is slow otherwise. We’d be lost otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to go anywhere,” Elizabeth explains.
Sruthan House is a three-bedroom facility which provides respite for adults with physical and sensory disabilities. It operates for ten days each fortnight and there is a full-time person in charge, and nine full-time health care workers employed in the centre. Families of service users learned last week that the HSE would be closing the service from this December.
Pat has been living with his sister Elizabeth in Oakland Park since 2008. Prior to that he had been in Blackrock Abbey. They had been allocated the house to allow him to move out of Blackrock Abbey and he could be cared for by his sister, who would be able to get some respite when Pat went to Sruthan House.
“They said they have services for Pat”, Elizabeth explained. “Respite services and that. That was the deal for me to move in with him.
“He goes there maybe four times a year. He loves going to it. He’s packing from the week before. They go on trips everyday nearly.
“They’re very good up there. You have nothing to worry about when he goes in. You don’t even get a phone call.”
Elizabeth also pointed out the loss of jobs that the closure could bring. “The girls are all gutted up there.”
“I was saying ‘God love them for their jobs’. They’re more interested in all the people that go to it. It’s a lovely place. They do everything for them. They look after them well.”
“We’re just going to be lost now with nowhere to go,” she added. [They] just can’t shut it because there’s too many people who need it. A lot of people use it.”
Dundalk councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú who has been working on the families' behalf to try and keep Sruthan House open, will chair a public meeting on the decision of the HSE to propose Sruthan House for closure on Tuesday July 23 at 6.30pm in Muirhevnamor Community Centre.