The Malta Independent 17 June 2024, Monday
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‘Case closed’ minister says on Cospicua elderly home saga, ‘let’s move on’

Sabrina Zammit Monday, 19 June 2023, 14:22 Last update: about 13 months ago

Minister for Active ageing Jo-Etienne Abela said that the government is closing the case on the elderly home saga, adding that it's time to move on as "we've got a lot of projects", in response to a question posed by this newsroom.

The minister was responding to a question about a 2021 report, which had found that the concrete at the Cospicua elderly home "was very definitely below expected standards." He was asked why the government took two years to take action.

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"I've been perfectly crystal clear on the subject, I don't have anything to add", he said, stating that he has already tabled the reports in parliament.

Pressed on the matter, the minister said that he become Active Ageing minister in April 2022.

Asked what he meant by case closed, he said that "we're (the government) is moving on".

Residents of the elderly home were shocked last month when they were told that they had a couple of days' notice to choose an alternative home to stay in, and be evacuated from their current residence. The government has argued that there are health and safety issues at the home and the minister himself previously said that reports indicate "serious doubts" on its structure.

A report which was tabled in Parliament and seen by The Malta Independent, is dated 2 September 2021, meaning that it has been known for almost two years that the concrete at the home - which was built in 1997 - was not up to scratch.

Opposition Leader Bernard Grech, on Sunday, had brought up the issue of the care home. Referring to the same report that Abela had tabled in Parliament, Grech said that "the government wants to demolish the Cospicua elderly home simply to accommodate more people".

Asked for a reaction, the minister did not deny it, however insisted that he had nothing to add to the matter.

Prior to taking questions Abela was addressing a press conference after announcing the opening of a new centre for active ageing in Gharghur.

Gharghur Mayor Helene Gauci, said that she is happy that the elderly will now have more physical activities in which they can participate in.

The minister said that in total there are around 27 centres like the new one in Gharghur, around the country with a total of 2,000 elderly.

He added that he values the relationship that the government has with the local councils, as this way it can ensure to meet the needs of the locality.

The CEO of Active Ageing and Community Care Renzo De Gabriele said that such centres provide a better quality of life, and said that physical activity can decrease the chances of dementia.


 

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