Take Them Into The Public System
A complex of care centres run by the Sisters of Charity in Dublin are facing closure with the loss of 200 jobs.
- St Monica’s Nursing Home has a 46-bed capacity and more than 60 staff. Staff members are completely dedicated to their work with some in service over 35 years in the facility which has been operating since 1990 with the current DAC (Designated Activity Company) active since 2002.
- St Mary’s Nursing home can cater for up to 70 residents. During the Covid-19 pandemic, none of the residents contracted the disease. Yet it is now facing closure.
- Caritas: This is a convalescent home with a high reputation because of the work of dedicated staff. Yet despite many giving over twenty year service, they are facing redundancy, with a bare entitlement to statutory payment.
- Residents who are in independent living facilities on the site are also worried about their future as the neighbouring centres close.
No Reason For Closure
Ireland has just been through a major health emergency and it is already clear that we need a better run public system for the future.
St Mary’s, St Monica’s and Caritas should be taken into public ownership and the jobs should be preserved.
- The Fair Deal Scheme funded about 95% of the occupancy in St Monica’s. Only 1 or 2 beds were funded privately.
- St Mary’s Nursing home already received 90% of its funding from the state. This is made up of a disability grant and the Fair Deal Scheme. If it relies on public funding, it should be taken into public control.
- Caritas is a step down facility and as we move to an era where more social distancing is required, we will need more of these facilities. It used to receive 60% funding from HSE but a new managerial team has been pushing it more to the private sector.
The Sisters of Charity have given spurious reasons for the closure.
- St Monica’s has consistently maintained compliance with regulations and has given above satisfactory care for the residents. St Monica’s closure seems timed with the other Ss of Charity linked facilities of St Mary’s and Caritas in Merrion. The flimsy reason was a suggestion to add some storage space at the last inspection. Small suggestions like this have been easily met in the past. There is no reason to close St Monica’s.
- St Mary’s claim they cannot meet the requirements of HIQA, the inspection agency. But HIQA never recommended closure. In their latest report issued on 9 July 2020, they indicated that staffing, staff training, residential rights were all satisfactory. They stated, however, that on some governance issues, it was non-compliant. Such issues included record keeping and an ineffective system of management. These are not reasons for closure but rather cause to put the nursing home under public control.
Caritas was put into liquidation – without any prior notice being given to the staff. The judge who heard the case stated that The grounds for seeking provisional liquidators were not the “classic” ones as there was no threat to the assets of the company and no issue about probity of management’. The main reason he gave was ‘desirability of ensuring staff could be released for duty elsewhere in the health service.’ But the staff do not desire to move – they just want to keep their jobs. The nuns claim they are closing Caritas because their lease is up. But the lease is to the Sisters of Charity!
The Sisters Of Charity Have Some Obligations
The Sisters of Charity are a religious order that was involved in abuse in the past. Under a redress scheme, that was pushed through the Dail in dubious circumstances, they are obliged to pay the state €5 million. But they still have not paid up.
The order recently sold off a former building which housed a Magdalene Laundry in Donnybrook. They undertook to provide a duty of care to elderly residents who were moved to St Mary’s. They are now breaking that promise.
Bring These Facilties Into Public Ownership
There is a dedicated staff in St Mary’s, St Monica’s and Caritas who have helped scores of residents over the years.
They should not now be dispersed but these centres should be preserved a properties of the wider Irish society.
We will need more health care centres. We are already paying for them. It is time to end private ownership by the nuns and integrate them into a public system.