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Abbeyleix nursing home gets reprieve as HSE to hold consultation

The Health Service Executive has said it will now hold a consultation with residents after they challenged the closure in the High Court.

Image: Assunta Del Buono/John Birdsall/Press Association Images

THE ABBEYLEIX NURSING home has won a reprieve at the High Court today after the Health Service Executive agreed to quash its proposed closure of the unit which had been met with fierce protestations.

The HSE has said it will now consult residents of the Abbeyleix Community Nursing Unit in Laois about their future care over the next 12 weeks following the legal challenge by three residents who fought to keep the 28-bed unit open.

RTÉ reports that the court was told this morning the matter has been settled. Last month, residents Maureen Delaney, 89, Bridget O’Neill, 92, and Catherine Kelly, 93, were granted permission to challenge the closure in the courts.

The HSE announced at the beginning of November that it was to shut down the unit as it could not ensure a safe service to residents because of budgetary constraints and lower staff numbers.

Residents were told they would be moved to alternative accommodation in the area and staff would be redeployed but the decision was met with opposition from the home’s residents, local politicians and the community.

Fianna Fáil’s Seán Fleming described it as a “callous way” to treat older people as more than 5,000 people took part in a march against the closure in Abbeyleix a few weeks ago.

Welcoming today’s decision, Labour Senator John Whelan cautioned that while the latest decision was positive it was not a reversal of the closure.

“All the indications are good and the mood music is good,” he told Midlands 103 but he added: “I don’t think the battle is over”.

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Hugh O'Connell

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