Kelly promises to chase cash for Mungret respite centre

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Cllr Conor Sheehan, Cllr Elena Secas, Deputy Alan Kelly, and Cllr Joe Leddin.

LABOUR Party leader Alan Kelly has pledged to pursue the matter of a Limerick respite centre for disabled children and their families being closed for two years.

St Gabriel’s Respite Centre in Mungret has been closed since it was built two years ago for lack of funding.

The Labour Party leader visited Limerick on Thursday last at the invitation of local Councillors Conor Sheehan, Elena Secas and Joe Leddin.

Deputy Kelly began his day by visiting the Education and Training Board’s hospitality centre in Roxboro where he was briefed about the challenges faced by the hospitality sector in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown.

He then went to visit St Gabriel’s Respite House in Mungret which was completed in 2018 and has yet to open.

Speaking after meeting some of the parents whose children with disabilities are unable to access respite locally, Deputy Kelly pledged to raise the issue in the Dáil.

“This is a fantastic facility funded by the families and patrons of St Gabriel’s Centre and to see it closed more than two years after it was finished is not acceptable. While I acknowledge the fact that the HSE provided funding to allow the centre to open temporarily in June, it will close again if further funding is not forthcoming,”he explained.

Opening the centre would require a cash injection of €1.4 per year.

“I will be raising this directly with the Minister for Health and Minister for Disabilities in the Dáil and will be contacting the HSE directly,” he said.

The Labour Leader also met with Shannon Heritage staff outside King John’s Castle who pressed upon him the need for the Shannon Heritage sites to remain open past August.

“ We are all being advised to holiday at home for the foreseeable future and these sites must remain open,” he declared.