Ministers to meet Rosalie delegation
Following last Thursday night’s public meeting on the future of the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea, which was held shortly after family members met with HSE Chief Officer Tony Canavan in Castlerea, Senator Maura Hopkins has confirmed that both Minister for Health, Simon Harris and Minister for Mental Health, Jim Daly will meet a delegation on the future of the unit.
Earlier this week, Senator Hopkins commented on the proposed meeting: “I am currently in the process of arranging for a local delegation to meet with Ministers Harris and Daly as well as Executive Clinical Director HSE West, Amanda Burke and Chief Health Officer CCA 2, Tony Canavan.
“Minister Daly will visit the Rosalie Unit at the end of this month. He will meet with residents, family members and healthcare professionals.
“I have been working closely with Cllrs. Michael Creaton and Liam Callaghan as well as family members of the residents to investigate this issue over the past number of months. It is very important that all of our public representatives are active on this issue”.
Senator Hopkins spoke to both Ministers following the public meeting at Hester’s Golden Eagle last week which was attended by up to 300 people including concerned family members and public representatives.
Family members and local councillors as well as healthcare practitioners expressed frustration and anger at the meeting with Minister Denis Naughten and local TDs Eugene Murphy and Michael Fitzmaurice vowing to stand by the people of Castlerea.
Minister Naughten said that it was clear that it was HSE and Government policy to keep the unit open and to further develop it before adding: “As far as I’m concerned, that will be the policy as long as I’m in Government”.
Minister Naughten produced a letter dated July 23rd 2015 from the office of the then Minister for Health Leo Varadkar, which offered assurances that the Rosalie Unit would have a future in the provision of services in Roscommon. The closing paragraph of the letter reads: “This service has a good geographic location and has a good care ethos for the residents living there and it is HSE’s intention to include the Rosalie Unit in their future provision and plans”.
Deputy Fitzmaurice said he would stand “shoulder to shoulder” with Minister Denis Naughten and fellow public representatives and that he had requested a meeting with HSE Executive Clinical Director Amanda Burke and HSE Chief Officer Tony Canavan but that request was declined via text message as he was making his way to the meeting last Thursday.
A number of other people also voiced their concerns from the floor last Thursday including Dr. Greg Kelly who chaired the meeting, Dr. Charles Byrne, who had helped to develop the Rosalie Unit, Cllr. Orla Leyden, Cllr. Kathleen Shanager, Cllr. Nigel Dineen, Cllr. Paddy Kilduff and Cllr. Liam Callaghan as well as concerned family members and members of the public.
Dr. Kelly encouraged those present to stand up and fight in order to allow people to live and die in their own community. Dr. Charles Byrne described the decision as “short-sighted” before claiming that the policy was in conflict with the HSE’s ‘Vision for Change’ policy.
Both Psychiatric Nurses’ Association representative, Breege Callaghan and local man Danny Burke accused the HSE of being “out of control and answerable to no-one” while Deputy Fitzmaurice added that it was “an elephant out of control” before describing the mood at a recent meeting between family members and the HSE at Leinster House as “cold and callous”. Senator Maura Hopkins also described the HSE’s refusal to engage with family members as “a disgrace”.
Cllr. Paschal Fitzmaurice, who played a major role in organising last Thursday’s meeting, said he was “sick and tired of civil servants being rolled out whenever there was any bad news” before adding: “We have to make sure politicians do their jobs”.
Those public representatives present at Thursday’s meeting were united in their vow to stand with the local people and fight for the future of the Rosalie Unit.