Parents object to plan to move day service for intellectually disabled adults

Families say proposed move to ‘disused farm’ takes service from heart of Sligo community

Sligo Town. Parents of a number of young adults attending day services at Cregg House, Sligo, say they will refuse to comply with a HSE proposal to transfer the service to “a disused farm” three miles outside the town.  Photograph: Getty Images

Sligo Town. Parents of a number of young adults attending day services at Cregg House, Sligo, say they will refuse to comply with a HSE proposal to transfer the service to “a disused farm” three miles outside the town. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Parents of a number of young adults with intellectual disabilities attending day services at Cregg House, Sligo, say they will refuse to comply with a HSE proposal to transfer the service to “a disused farm” three miles outside the town.

One couple has written to the Ombudsman outlining concerns for their 26-year-old daughter if the Iona/Steps service is relocated to “a disused former artificial insemination site for bulls in an isolated rural setting, outside the development zone for Sligo town”.

In a letter to the HSE in December, seven families outlined their objections, and said the proposed move to Doonally on the Sligo/Manorhamilton road was the “antithesis of government policy” as it would mean the removal of the service from the “heart of the community” into an unserviced rural area with no adjacent facilities.

The parents say the move would be contrary to the HSE’s own policy document New Directions & Transforming Lives, which stipulates that such services should be community-based .

Disappointed

Gabriel Browne from Sligo, whose 26-year-old daughter Aisling is a service-user, said parents were bitterly disappointed at the complete lack of consultation given previous collaboration between families and the HSE, even in the wake of a damning HIQA report in 2015. He has made a complaint to the Ombudsman.

Over two dozen service-users avail of the day-care facility in Cregg House, and Mr Browne stressed parents’ appreciation for the dedicated work of staff there. His daughter lives at home but attends the service daily.

Parents say they received a three-line letter from the HSE in October advising them that the service would move in the coming months.

They say the site is on a busy narrow stretch of the N16 national primary route, and a previous planning application was refused because of public safety concerns.

They also say the site has been deemed a flood risk by the OPW, and in the Sligo & Environs Development Plan it is in a “buffer zone” which must be used principally for agriculture.

Local management

In a statement the HSE said local management would “communicate in a meaningful way with all of the individuals and their families concerned in this matter”.

It said “considerable progress” had been made improving services in Sligo/Leitrim by, for example, the decongregation of the institutional residential setting in Cregg House to more appropriate community living, and the decommissioning of institutional day services there to “a more appropriate community model in line with New Directions”.