Anger is mounting this week over the decision to close the Cuisle Holiday Centre in Donamon – with the loss of 48 jobs and to the dismay of service users from all over Ireland.
A furious backlash is gathering momentum and there are growing demands for the closure decision to be reversed.
The Cuisle Accessible Holiday Resort, located at Donamon, Co. Roscommon, is the Irish Wheelchair Association’s national holiday location, and has been in operation for the past 22 years.
Last Friday, staff at the centre were stunned to be told that the facility will close on November 29th next. The news came as a complete shock to staff, and has devastated employees, the local community, and service users throughout the country.
In a media statement, the IWA gave mixed signals as to the reason for the shock closure, citing changes in best practise approaches – as well as funding requirements.
The IWA said: “In recent years, there have been positive changes in accessibility standards in Ireland that now present a greater range of choice and options for people with disabilities seeking a holiday or respite.
“Consequently, there has been a shift in best practice approaches, moving away from congregated, health service settings to integrated holiday services that provide people with greater options, alongside the supports they need to maintain independence.
“In line with this, Irish Wheelchair Association has decided to transition its holiday service in the West of Ireland to provide accessible hotel holidays into the future, and to move away from its holiday facility at Cuisle, Co Roscommon”.
The IWA leases the building at Donamon from the Divine Word Missionaries. In its statement, the IWA said that the lease on the building is due to expire in 2026, adding that “significant investment would be needed to make the building compatible with the future of the service”.
It has since emerged that the investment requirement relates to electrical works and related renovations, with IWA claiming that in the region of €1.5m/€2m is required. The IWA says it has been engaged in efforts to secure such funding, but without success.