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Public Accounts Committee to examine the case of Laois mental health facility

Erkina House Rathdowney

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) are to examine the case of Erkina House in Rathdowney.

So says Laois TD Brian Stanley who is the chair of the body.

According to the Sinn Fein Deputy, the PAC in the first instance will be requesting detailed information from the HSE regarding spending on the building and facilities in Erkina House.

Substantial works were carried out to the building, most recently over the past year, on the roof of part of the building.

Back in April, Deputy Brian Stanley revealed how the HSE intended to close the mental health facility that opened in 1996.

Erkina House is home to 12 residents and comes under the Mental Health Services.

The HSE swiftly apologised to those residents and their families and vowed to ‘pause’ the planned closure for a period of consultation.

And now, the PAC will investigate.

Deputy Stanley said: “The HSE took a decision 4 months ago to close this facility without any consultation with stakeholders and without the knowledge of local TD’s and the Minister for Health or the Minister for Older People Mary Butler TD.

“The HSE have informed public representatives that they want to create four 10 bed units in Laois Offaly.

“If this is the case, Erkina House is ideally located and has the facilities to be one of these units.

“Its location is well established as been perfect to meet the needs of the 11 residents.

“Currently the HSE is conducting what they call “an option appraisal’ and the state they have hired a professional company to carry it out.

“This needs to be comprehensive and meaningful and all interested parties should be consulted, including the residents of Erkina House and their families, staff and Public Representatives.

“Residential facilities for people who need a certain level of care are in short supply and every effort must be made to ensure Erkina House continues to provide this into the future.”

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