SIPTU, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) and Fórsa Trade Union representatives have today (Friday, 14th August) called on the Health Service Executive to protect services for residents and families at the Caritas Convalescent Centre, St. Mary’s Centre Telford and St. Monica’s Nursing Home in Dublin. SIPTU Organiser, Brian Condra, said: “Union representatives are calling on the Health Service Executive (HSE), as the main funder of the service, and the state agency with the responsibility for patient care, to immediately engage with all parties, including patient advocacy groups, to ensure all the Sister of Charity residents and their relatives are treated with dignity and respect. The needs of the residents must be treated as an absolute priority. Some residents have spent years in the care of our members. The same members who now, after decades of service, and working throughout the Covid-19 crisis, been told that a fair and reasonable redundancy package is too much for them. It is not acceptable.” He added: “The reality is that we are still in the midst of a global pandemic and closing these essential services will a have long term impact on communities across the country.  The State has a responsibility to all residents in Section 39 facilities and they must take that responsibility seriously.” INMO Assistant Director of Industrial Relations, Lorraine Monaghan, said: "COVID is no time to be uprooting patients. Many of these residents are extremely vulnerable and these centres have been their homes for many years. Patients and their families have been left in the dark, understandably concerned about the future of their care. The HSE needs to lift the fog of uncertainty and protect services in these centres. Ireland's health service not only needs the bed capacity, but has a moral obligation to those who use these services. The HSE and Sisters of Charity must live up to their responsibilities. The Sisters of Charity should stop hiding behind contrived company structures to avoid paying staff fair redundancies, and the HSE should protect vulnerable patients' services." Fórsa Assistant General Secretary, Seán McElhinney, said: “The residents, and their families, have seen, first hand, the care and compassion with which the workers at Sister of Charity facilities have discharged their duties over the years. It is essential that this level of quality health is maintained. The HSE has to step up to the mark now and give our members assurances that these vulnerable residents, many of whom are like family to the staff, get the care they deserve.”