Judge in ultimatum on running of residential home

A district court judge yesterday gave parties concerned with the running of a residential home for 39 vulnerable people in Cork 24 hours to come up with a plan for its future.

Judge in ultimatum on running of residential home

St Vincent’s is a designated facility for the elderly and people with intellectual disability. It is based at the Sisters of Charity, St Mary’s Rd, and was the subject of an ex parte (only one side represented) court application made by the HSE last week.

Judge Aingil Ní Chondúin said she almost expected to see the families of the 39 residents outside the courthouse with placards in advance of yesterday’s hearing.

Felix McEnroy, for St Vincent’s, said the HSE, with its application, was looking for something the district court had no jurisdiction to give.

Of the HSE bid, Mr McEnroy told the court: “I say it is illegal and demonstrably illegal and I do not make that statement lightly.”

Diarmuid Cunningham, for the HSE, said the executive must take over the running of the facility through another registered provider but that this required the co-operation of the present registered provider. Such co-operation was not present, he said. Mr McEnroy disputed that assertion.

Judge Ní Chondúin said the new registered provider needed to get in the door of St Vincent’s first. Mr McEnroy said there was no issue with that. Mr Cunningham disagreed and said there had been an issue with the new provider getting access.

After almost an hour of legal arguments in relation to the jurisdiction of the court to hear the application, Judge Ní Chondúin said it was time for common sense.

“In the past, I have adjourned for people to knuckle down, talk, and get on with it,” she said. “Someone has to come in and run it. Charity does not come into it anymore. This is about liability, insurance, whatever. It is about 39 vulnerable people and how we look after them.

“I want a plan. What is that plan going to be? Do it now. Go to the High Court if you like and spend a fortune on costs if you like. Off with you. I am going to give you 24 hours to file an agreement.

“That is the first leg of it. When that is done I will put it back and keep the finger on the button to make sure something is done. There are 39 vulnerable people out there. They cannot go home.

“You have 24 hours to do something about this. Take your courage in your hands and sign on the dotted line. You can do anything by agreement.”

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