Outrage at closure of Orchard Nursing Home
‘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.