I have tabled this Topical Issue every day since we came back at the end of September. It is in regard to the day care centre on Drogheda Street in Monasterevin, which the Minister of State may or may not know.
It is a lovely town of almost 4,000 people on the Kildare-Laois border. A part of County Kildare, it went into Laois for the last general election, but we are happy to have reclaimed it for the next one. It has a strong community that cares for its own.
The day care centre was an important focal point for elderly people, not just those living in the town itself, but also its rural hinterland. In 2014, the centre was closed on health and safety grounds. This did not just impact on the elderly who used it as a day care centre, but on Alzheimer sufferers using it as an Alzheimer's centre. We all know that a respite resource is important so that those with Alzheimer's can engage with their peers and their families can have an opportunity to get on with their lives outside of the significant work that goes into caring for someone with dementia or Alzheimer's.
When the centre was closed, the day care centre moved to the local football club - fair play to the club for putting facilities in place - and the Alzheimer's centre moved to Moore Abbey, which kindly gave over space so that visits could be run on a three-day basis.
Since then, we have been given a great deal of contradictory information on when the centre would reopen. No more than ten months ago, we were told that it would be opening this past September. This was especially important from the perspective of Alzheimer Society users. However, the latest news is that the centre will not reopen until 2019. That is far too long for a vibrant community to lack such facilities.
Insurance lapsed in respect of the service users who had been going to the football club. In early September, the committee resigned en masse. I pay tribute to its members for the hard work that they have invested for years. I can understand why they resigned, given that they were not hearing any positive news about the centre's reopening.
The Alzheimer's centre had to move from Moore Abbey and has been housed in temporary accommodation for the second time. I thank the Dunmurry Springs golf club for hosting the Alzheimer Society. People have settled in well. Importantly, I am hearing positive reports from family members.
The HSE area manager, Mr. David Walsh, has worked hard towards the reopening of these facilities, but this has gone on for too long, and I have been concerned by the latest answers to a number of parliamentary questions that I have submitted. Apart from the timeline issue, there is no sense that the premises on Drogheda Street will revert to day care and provide services for those with Alzheimer's. According to the answers, primary care and mental health services will be provided and additional-----