Fermanagh South Tyrone Sinn Féin Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Downgrading Fermanagh Day Centres a 'backward step' - Flanagan

Published: 10 August, 2015

Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan has said that the decision to downgrade day centres across Fermanagh is a backward step and the recent public consultation carried out by the Western Trust was a 'complete farce'.

Speaking today, Mr Flanagan said:

"This public consultation was a complete farce and is as bad an exercise in participative democracy as I have ever seen.

"I attended a public consultation event in Garrison along with Councillor Anthony Feely. Anthony and Michelle Gildernew were both in attendance at the event in Belcoo. The unanimous view from people at both those meetings were that these changes should not take place.

"Officials from the Trust claimed to be making these decisions based on the findings of a business case, but this was never made public as part of this process, and despite repeated requests by me for this to be published to better inform the views of the public, it still hasn't happened.

"It is quite clear that local people do not want to see these changes made to the day centres in Belcoo, Garrison, Derrygonnelly, Teemore or Roslea. Each of these operate at a very high standard in modern facilities and serve the local community very well.

"1,268 people responded to this consultation, including 927 service users, with nearly 200 relatives taking the time to make their views known. The Western Trust completely ignored any input from the public and are ploughing ahead with their original proposal regardless of what people have said in their response.

"These changes to the day centres are a backward step in terms of allowing people to live independently in their own community.

"People in Garrison and Belcoo with any sort of care needs will now have to travel a considerable journey over bad roads to Derrygonnelly in order to have social interaction with their peers. This is instead of being able to use the centre on their doorstep, which was much more accessible and well-fit to provide for people with basic care needs."