Care homes: Jean, 93, can hardly believe good news on reprieve

Sheena Costello and Jean Faulkner
Sheena Costello and Jean Faulkner

Ninety-three-year-old Jean Faulkner has told of her delight that Westlands residential care home in Cookstown will remain open.

Jean, who became the face of the campaign to save the Tyrone home from closure, said she “couldn’t believe it” when Health Minister Edwin Poots delivered the news in person on Wednesday.

“It was a great relief,” she said.

“I couldn’t believe it. We thought when he came back to the home, he was here to give us bad news, but it is safe. It turned out perfect. I can’t get over it.”

Jean’s cousin, Sheena Costello, who campaigned tirelessly with the residents and staff, said she was “thrilled to bits” with the news.

Mrs Costello said: “I was in a state of total disbelief. I had to ask him [Edwin Poots] to confirm what he had said because over the last year we had really grown to fear that the news might not be good.

“When there is a non-admissions policy here at the home, and no-body allowed in, then you are thinking what is the reason behind that?”

Adding that she would like clarification from the Minister on the non-admission policy, Mrs Costello said she “asked him directly” about it. She said that he “could not give an answer because it is going to be different for every home”.

“But the immediate security, there is no grey area there, these people are allowed to stay here as long as they wish,” she said.