The strong public support for the residents of Cluain Arann in Tippeary Town has been hailed as the reason why the HSE has done a u-turn on plans to close it down.
This week the Tipperary town community celebrated the unexpected decision of the Department of Health and the HSE who pulled out of a plan to close down the home leaving nineteen elderly residents seek alternative living arrangements.
The plan, which was announced prior to Christmas, caused deep anxiety and concern in the town and the dramatic change of plan was welcomed this week.
Minister Martin Mansergh said the people of Tipperary town, as well as local doctors, will have warmly welcomed the announcement by Minister for Health Mary Harney that the residential home was to remain open.
"The strong public support for Cluain Arann is the biggest factor in it remaining open. Public representatives have also played their part," said the minister.
Minister Mansergh said that now that the uncertainty had been resolved he urged the HSE to make necessary arrangements as soon as possible, so that the initial rundown can be reversed and the vacant spaces (approximately eleven) at the home be filled.
Deputy Mattie McGrath, who raised the issue in the Dail last Thursday, welcomed the decision and indicated that he will be following up with Minister Harney and Aine Brady, Minister for Older People, regarding the services at the home and also the appointment of a local area manager.
Fine Gael TD Tom Hayes has also welcomed the news. He highlighted the hard work that was done behind the scenes by all concerned to secure the services in Cluain Arann Welfare Home.
"I am very pleased for the current residents of Cluain Arann and for the population of Tipperary town and the surrounding areas that Cluain Arann is to be remain open and retain all its services", Mr Hayes said.
"A lot of work was done behind the scenes to secure the services. Decisions made by the HSE necessitate working behind the scenes to deal with various levels of management to highlight the impact that decisions like this one would have. I know that the work put in by all public representatives, including local authorities paid off on this occasion. I am very glad that common sense prevailed." he said.
Local councillor Mary Hanna Hourigan said the news was good but warned that the fight to keep the home opened was not over.
She said the challenge now was to get Cluain Arann back up running to its full capacity to housing 32 residents.