A WORKSHOP run by the Brothers of Charity and which employs 28 intellectually disabled adults is to close its doors on October 31, it has been announced.
Families were due to meet with Norma Bagge, director of services, Brothers of Charity Limerick, on Monday night to discuss the phased closure.
Located on Ballysimon Road, the factory produces metal fixtures for export and is run by Clonmore Industrial Services, a company set up by the Brothers of Charity in 1985 to provide sheltered employment.
One relative who spoke to the Chronicle said the closure had come as a “total shock” to its intellectually disabled staff.
“The people that are there don’t know what is going to be there for them and they are very upset. This is all that they know; the staff are absolutely brilliant to them. It is a company that is making money, a profitable company, so we don’t know what the reason is for the closure,” the relative said.
The Brothers of Charity said the company had never been set up to be a profitable concern but “it did generate sufficient income to cover the payment of allowances to the people who worked there, as well as covering operational expenses and a small level of capital investment”.
It is understood people working in the factory receive small amounts of around €30 a week on top of disability allowance.
The decision to close, according to the charity, is supported by the HSE and comes amid concern that the workers there are not getting a broad enough range of supports.
“Having reviewed their current involvement, the Brothers of Charity Services Limerick consider it more appropriate to concentrate their efforts on supporting the people attending the Clonmore premises to reach their full potential in a variety of ways, including a work-related element,” a spokesperson said.
“The provision of health and social care supports means that we provide supports to people with intellectual disability to live as independent a life as possible and to support these individuals to reach their full potential in all aspects of their lives.
“We also have a responsibility to the people who currently attend Clonmore Industrial Services to provide a personalised service that is much broader than work.
“The decision to close Clonmore is not a cost-saving saving decision. The budget allocated...to Clonmore, which includes a staffing budget, will transfer to their new service that will be set up to support this group of people. This new service will be full-time, will be community-based and set up to meet the needs of individuals as identified in their person-centred plan.”