Deputy Cahill, Minister Mary Butler, and Cllr Michael Smith at the Dean Maxwell care home in Roscrea
"I welcome the announcement by the Government that the Dean Maxwell Home has overcome the first hurdle but the fight goes on", said Cllr Michael Smith.
"This decision means that funding will be not be an obstacle if a long-term feasible plan is prepared and agreed to by all stakeholders.
I have pleaded for an all-out united effort by our Oireachtas members and the people of this area are most grateful for the outcome thus far. There is no space for political opportunism in this most serious battle. The genuine concerns of the residents and staff in the Dean Maxwell Home together with the wider public interest must be to the forefront at all times.
"The decision to close the long stay facilities and downgrade this historic service was taken with the stroke of a pen. No consideration was given to the sterling service given to the people of Roscrea and its hinterlands for almost half a century. There is now a moral duty and sense of fairness to have that decision reversed.
"The number of people over the age of sixty-five is increasing all the time, as the average life expectancy of men and women is reaching new levels. These expected trends are to be celebrated in terms of people living longer and living healthier lives for longer. More than a quarter of the population of Roscrea will be over the age of sixty-five over the next twenty years. Surely, the acid test of a democracy is how it treats its elderly and those with special needs?
"The Dean Maxwell Home is located in the town centre on a site with considerable opportunities for development when the adjacent lands are taken into account. The task now is to ensure that long stay and short stay facilities are protected. There will be scope for developing the day-care services. Helping people to live as long as possible in their own homes raises the issue of providing independent living accommodation.
"In the work that we do, consideration must be urgently given to supporting facilities for dementia suffers. Sometimes in life decisions are taken that can have devastating consequences for people and in this instance, the elderly and those in need of long stay care were ignored. We are fortunate that there is still time to rectify the situation. I am confident that with the continued united support from all levels, we will reach the final hurdle and secure the long-term future of the Dean Maxwell Home", concluded Cllr Smith.
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