MORE than 70 elderly people were left without their meals on wheels service in Limerick city this week, in a row in which some were blaming the parish priest for the break down of the service.
The Limerick Leader received numerous calls on Wednesday from frustrated family members over the fact the service for the southside of the city did not go ahead.
And one community worker involved in providing the service to 80 people across the city laid the blame firmly at the door of Very Rev. Patrick Oâ€™Sullivan, parish priest at Our Lady Queen of Peace parish, Janesboro.
Community worker Tony Marlow said that after the Easter holidays the locks in the offices of the community centre had been changed at the behest of Fr Oâ€™Sullivan and they could not use their phones or computers, which were vital to them.
â€œWe were able to carry on for a week, but then ran out of food. Now we canâ€™t get supplies or make contact with the people,â€ said Mr Marlow.
Originally the committee had an office in the church grounds, but staff funded through a FAS scheme found it hard to work there because the heating was not turned on. They moved to the Community Centre and a lease agreement was being organised with the Diocese who hold the deeds of the building.
Messages were left on Fr Oâ€™Sullivanâ€™s phone on Wednesday but there was no reply at time of going to press. The Diocesan Office was also contacted for comment.
However one parishioner who did not want to be named said that Fr O Sullivan was within his rights to do what he did, had his side to the story and that the kitchen was open to the group.
â€œThere was a dispute and he has since written to them to mediate and it can be sorted out,â€ said the parishioner.
Marion Oâ€™Connor, whose mum lives in Flood street, said:â€œMy mother is 92 and she got no dinner today, but she is one of the lucky ones because I could cook. There are loads of others that go no dinner.â€
â€œIt is a brilliant service, they come in and deliver the dinners and make sure everything is alright,â€ added Marion.
â€œI am not sure what the problem was but I am told that the priest locked them out,â€ she added.
Local councillor Ger Fahy said he was hopeful the matter could be sorted out quickly: â€œI know the priest was away for a week, but contact has been made and hopefully it can be sorted out.â€
â€œThe most important thing here is to get the service resumed,â€ he added.