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Saturday, 9th November 2019

Carers launch campaign to keep accessible respite centre open

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Mary Mahony enjoying a break she and her husband William took at the Cuisle accessible respite and holiday centre in 2017. The centre is being threatened with closure with the loss of 48 jobs.

Drogheda man William Mahony who cares for his disabled and wheelchair bound wife Mary, has started a campaign to convince the Irish Wheelchair Association to reverse their decision to close its Cuisle accessible respite and holiday resort in County Roscommon.

William, who is the Treasurer of the Louth and East Meath Family Carers Support Group, said that if the centre closes it will be a severe body blow to disabled people and their carers wishing to take a break in Ireland because it is the only accessible centre of its type in the country

“It is a fantastic place designed to cater for people with all manner of disabilities and is also open to people who are able bodied” William told Drogheda Life.

“My wife Mary and I went there two years ago and we had a fabulous time, the staff were so helpful and attentive to any and all requests and more than willing to give any information on whatever we wanted to know.”

“To the best of my knowledge there is nowhere else that is so welcoming to anyone no matter the disability and if it goes then there is going to be a very large gap in where to go for a few days holiday.

“I would like to put out an appeal to all the disabilities groups in Louth to write to the IWA and ask them to reverse the decision to close Cuisle in Roscommon.

“I would also ask that all councillors and TDs of all parties get behind this as Cuisle is such a vital and invaluable service we cannot let it go.”

Roscommon-Galway TD, Eugene Murphy (FF) has already raised the issue with Minister of State for Disability Issues Finian McGrath asking him to explore what options are open to service users and staff.

“The Cuisle respite centre has been facilitating respite and short breaks for people with disabilities and their families for over 20 years and has been described as Ireland’s leading wheelchair accessible resort”, Deputy Murphy said.

“Any move to close the centre must be opposed and we must examine other options. I understand there are some safety concerns, but surely these could be addressed if the political will is there.

“This centre is a vital resource for so many people and its closure would be felt far and wide. I believe there is an opportunity to secure its future and have outlined my commitment to Cuisle to Minister McGrath.

It has been revealed that the Irish Wheelchair Association received almost €40 million in funding nationally from Minister McGrath’s Department in 2019.

William Mahony told Drogheda Life today that the cost of repairs and refurbishing work at Cuisle has been put at €1.2m

“If they are getting this level of funding from the taxpayer then surely they can afford to carry out these repairs simply by closing for a few months and then have a grand opening with all the pomp that goes with it” William said.

“But no,” he said, “the powers that be have decided to close the facility and to leave those who need it most with nowhere to go.

“This is being done with no thought for the (48) staff who do fantastic work and they are going to be unemployed before the end of the month.

“This is a vital amenity to all the disabled people who over the years have taken a respite break there and now they will have nowhere.”

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