Minister Hoctor visits Mayo’s showcase housing projects for older people
Ms. Máire Hoctor, T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for Older People at the Department of Health and Children and the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, today (10th September) visited a number of special housing schemes in Mayo to see at first hand some show-case examples of innovative housing solutions for older people, including older emigrants returning to Ireland after many years working in the UK. She praised the range of services and accommodation for older people at a number of voluntary housing projects including Saint Brendan’s Village in Mulranny, Co. Mayo, the brainchild of Dr. Jerry Cowley, a local General Practitioner and former TD.
Speaking in Mulranny, Minister Hoctor said that “the Government and the social partners are working in close partnership in putting together the infrastructure for long term care services for older people. The provision of specific sheltered housing for older people has been championed by the voluntary sector since 1982 and St. Brendan’s Village, Mulranny stands as a testament to the commitment and vision of the voluntary housing sector. St Brendan’s has established a reputation for being a model project providing accommodation and a continuum of care for older people. I want to see this type of project replicated to assist those who are capable of living full and independent lives but who may, over time, require additional supports to enable them to maintain a good quality of life”.
The Minister added “ I believe the voluntary housing sector is particularly well qualified to meet the needs of our older emigrants and I detect a very positive response to the initiative introduced by the Minister of Environment, Heritage and Local Government in 2001, Mr Noel Dempsey TD, which enables voluntary bodies to assist our older emigrants who wish to return after many years abroad. The contribution of these emigrants to Ireland’s economy in the 50’s and 60’s cannot be over-estimated and it is only fair to assist them to retire at home in their native country”.
The Safe Home Programme, based in St Brendan’s Village, acts in a coordinating role for older emigrants wishing to return to Ireland. It also coordinates the provision of services to emigrants and assesses eligibility of applicants for accommodation under the scheme and liaises with relevant individual voluntary housing bodies in relation to accommodation for persons on the list seeking accommodation in particular areas. The Minister concluded – “ I commend the organisation on their achievements to date and in securing over 700 homes for returning emigrants since the initiative was launched. I also visited schemes in Foxford and Westport today and I was very impressed by the high standard of the accommodation and services provided there.”