SIPTU has written to the Health Service Executive (HSE), seeking confirmation of the re-opening date for St Vincent’s Care Centre, Athlone, County Westmeath, which was unexpectedly closed for repairs today (Wednesday, 6th July). SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell said: “SIPTU representatives met with the management of the facility this afternoon to express our members' deep concern over the impact its sudden closure may have on their jobs and the continuity of care they provide for residents. “Our members are seeking confirmation from the HSE of the re-opening date for the facility as well as clarification that their terms and conditions are fully protected. The management of the HSE must provide clear and unequivocal assurances that this is a temporary measure and that it will seek to ensure there is a minimal impact on the residents, their families and the staff providing this vital public service.” He added: “The resources for the refurbishment of the facility must be made available as a matter of priority by the Minister of State with responsibility for Older People, Helen McEntee. The extra staff required to carry out the transfer of these vulnerable residents must be deployed immediately and the residents’ families provided with certainty concerning the date that their loved ones can return home to St Vincent's.”