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HSE confirms decision to close north Clare facility

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A DECISION to close mental health supported accommodation in Ennistymon has been confirmed by the HSE, writes Jessica Quinn.
The closure of Prague House has been criticised by trade union SIPTU, with union representative Mark Quinn calling for the decision to be reversed.
According to the HSE the closure of the facility is due to decreasing demand for the service in recent years and the need for “significant” repair and refurbishment of the building.
Most recently there was one resident of Prague House who has now been moved to alternative accommodation in the county.
Mr Quinn has insisted that the building should be modernised to allow the service to continue operating in Ennistymon.
He also expressed concerns that anybody needing the accommodation service in the future will have to travel outside of North Clare.
He said two union members working in the facility were informed last week that their jobs would be moving to another location in Ennis, and there was no consultation with him as union rep prior to the decision to close.
The HSE has stated that engagement has taken place with staff on the planned closure since late last year and this is ongoing.
Mr Quinn said he met with the HSE last week who confirmed the intention to close the accommodation service.
“I am calling on the HSE to reverse that decision. We wish to see that building remain open and to be modernised for the people with mental health problems in North Clare and for our members’ employment to be secured within that premises,” he said.
When contacted by The Clare Champion, a spokesperson for HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare stated, “Prague House has operated as mental health supported accommodation in Ennistymon for many years.
“Demand for this type and level of supported accommodation has diminished in recent years, including in the Clare area.
“In addition, the HSE has identified that Prague House would require significant repair and refurbishment. The decision to close the facility was made in light of these two factors.
“The last remaining resident of Prague House has recently moved to alternative, more suitable accommodation within Clare.
“Staff have been aware of the plans to close the facility, once suitable, alternative accommodation was found for the remaining resident.
“It is important to note that Prague House offered supported accommodation only. No other mental health services operate from this facility. All other elements of mental health service provision in Clare, including access to Community Mental Health Teams, remain unchanged. The people of North and West Clare will continue to have access to the supports offered through our services in Lisdoonvarna and Kilrush.”

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