Out­rage at clo­sure of Or­chard Nurs­ing Home

Bray People - - News - Mary FOG­A­RTY

‘I’LL STICK TO my guns, I’ll stay un­til the last chim­ney pot falls,’ said one de­ter­mined res­i­dent of the ill-fated Or­chard Nurs­ing Home in Bray.

Ron­nie Cough­lan is a na­tive of Kil­coole and aged just 65 but poor health means he needs round-the-clock nurs­ing care. ‘I was told I would be here for the rest of my life. I love it here,’ he said. He added that there is at least one other man in the fa­cil­ity who is res­o­lutely re­fus­ing to leave.

Res­i­dents of the fa­cil­ity re­ceived a let­ter from the HSE on Fri­day con­firm­ing that they would all be trans­ferred to an­other fa­cil­ity ‘which will be able to look af­ter you and best meet your needs.’

This fol­lowed an an­nounce­ment the pre­vi­ous Mon­day that the home would close due to fire risk. The let­ter in­sisted that the changes were ‘un­avoid­able and nec­es­sary.’

‘A num­ber of sig­nif­i­cant safety is­sues were high­lighted,’ read the let­ter to res­i­dents of The Or­chard.

Ron­nie was in Lough­lin­stown for 11 months be­fore mov­ing to the Bray unit. ‘I only gave up my house three weeks ago. I would have gone back there to wait for a nurs­ing home.’ He said that his niece is a nurse and has said she is not sat­is­fied with the first of­fer of al­ter­na­tive ac­com­mo­da­tion made to him.

‘Peo­ple are be­ing ha­rassed to get out,’ he said. I’m not mov­ing any­where.’ Ron­nie joined staff protest­ing out­side the build­ing on Mon­day af­ter­noon to show his sup­port.

Ger Lowe, who is an em­ployee of The Or­chard, said that around 10 or 12 of the res­i­dents have al­ready been moved. He is on nights at the mo­ment. ‘It is weird be­ing there at night – there are 10 empty rooms.’

He said that a fur­ther 10 are ex­pected to be moved in the com­ing days. ‘I will prob­a­bly never see them again,’ he re­marked. He spoke of one man in his 80s who is re­fus­ing to move. ‘His bags are packed and be­side him in the room but he won’t go.’

Staff will con­tinue to strug­gle to save The Or­chard un­til the last pa­tient is gone, he said. ‘We will keep go­ing, that’s all we can do.’

The 35 pa­tients are all to be re­lo­cated in the com­ing weeks while it has been con­firmed that the 20 staff mem­bers will be pro­vided with al­ter­na­tive em­ploy­ment. Cap­i­tal fund­ing for the restora­tion of the home is ex­pected to be ap­plied for in 2010.

There will be a pub­lic meet­ing in the Royal Ho­tel to­mor­row night at 8 p.m. for any­one in­ter­ested in the is­sue.

Cllr. John Brady with res­i­dents and staff mem­bers of Or­chard Nurs­ing Home protest­ing against the clo­sure.

Pauline Ka­vanagh at the protest.

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