41 job losses as Portstewart care home closes

People using zimmer frame
Image caption Twenty three residents will have to be relocated from the Montague.

A care home in County Londonderry is to close with the loss of 41 jobs after its new owners decided the building does not meet required standards.

The closure of the Montague in Portstewart will mean 23 residents have to be relocated.

The home was run by collapsed care provider Southern Cross until November 2011.

It was taken over by Durham-based firm HC-One.

The deputy mayor of Coleraine, alderman Maura Hickey, has called for an investigation into the closure.

"We need to find out if anything could have been done or if there were alternatives to closing, whether the problems are structural or whether there is work that could be done," she said.

'Dilapidated state'

"This is a home in the centre of the community, everyone knows someone in it. This is going to be a big shock to the whole community if it has to close down."

A spokesperson for the firm said improvements had been made to the home but the building could not meet the necessary standard of care due to its "dilapidated state".

"Our team is already working with residents and their families, and the Northern Health and Social Care Trust to ensure that residents are offered places at other care homes of their choice, where they will be cared for safely and comfortably," the spokesperson said.

Angela Mulholland, whose mother was expecting to move to the Montague next week, said she is angry and upset at what has happened.

"This is going to put a major strain on the other homes in Portstewart, which will have an affect on people like my mother getting a place anywhere in the area," she said.

"When my mother heard, she was very upset. She just thinks she won't get back to her hometown."