Bray nursing home becomes latest to close due to cost pressures

Shannagh Bay Nursing Home is one of 25 small nursing homes to announce their closure since the start of 2022 as sector struggles with soaring costs and increased regulatory demands

Another nursing home has announced that it is closing its doors due to escalating running, energy and staffing costs and the increased pressure from meeting regulatory demands.

Shannagh Bay Nursing Home, which is located on the seafront in Bray, Co Wicklow, has announced that it will close by the end of April. The privately run nursing home has been in operation since 1990 and could accommodate up to 43 residents.

Pauline Smith, the nursing home’s owner and manager, said nursing homes were struggling to find staff and manage rising energy costs and other overheads while dealing with the cost of increased regulatory standards demanded across the sector.

Asked why the nursing home was closing, Ms Smith listed off the reasons: “Number one, I wanted to retire. Number two, cost pressures and number three, regulatory stuff which pushed me into say that I needed to retire.”


Last year 18 small, private nursing homes announced their closure with the loss of 545 beds. So far this year five more nursing homes had indicated their intention to cease operations this year.

Ms Smith said the increase in electricity and heating costs experienced by Shannagh Bay Nursing Home had gone “off the Richter scale,” while nursing home staff were looking for accommodation that she could not provide, exacerbating her challenge in finding staff.

There are more than 40 staff employed at the nursing home.

“There are a lot of nursing homes struggling at this stage. We get very little help. Our costs have escalated and our fees aren’t high enough to cover the costs. I was at my limit,” she said.

Tadhg Daly, chief executive of Nursing Home Ireland, a body representing private nursing home owners, said that fees agreed in the State’s Fair Deal scheme that subsidies nursing home care for residents were “removed from the reality of resident care costs” resulting in closures.

“It is critical that Government immediately addresses this funding crisis and takes the necessary actions to inject the confidence required to stabilise nursing home provision in the interests of residents, staff, providers and the wider health service,” he said.

He warned that “many more” homes would be forced to close if “the funding crisis” was not addressed.

In a written letter to relatives of Shannagh Bay residents last week, Ms Smith wrote: “It is with a heavy heart we write to you today with the news that we are closing the nursing home.”

“Providing care to those who are vulnerable and who require full-time care has been our vocation for over 32 years and making this decision did not come easily,” she said.

“There are so many external factors that we have tried to navigate over the last few years and over the last 14-15 months, times have gotten considerably worse. Closing the nursing home was our last resort and one we have fought to avoid.”

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is The Irish Times’s Public Affairs Editor and former Washington correspondent