Diocese sells off Belfast care home to Macklin Group
The Diocese of Down and Connor has sold a west Belfast care home to private operator Macklin for an undisclosed sum. The diocese said it no longer had the "necessary competencies" to run Our Lady's Care Home, which was opened on Ard Na Va Road in 1932 and was first run by religious order the Sisters of Mercy.
However, the diocese took over the home - which has 86 residents and 130 staff - in 1996.
Macklin Care Homes, which already owns five nursing homes in Northern Ireland, as well as the Malone Lodge Hotel in south Belfast, has now taken it over.
A spokesman for the diocese said it had been reassured that the Catholic ethos of the home would be maintained.
The diocese "sought assurances from the Macklin Group that the chaplaincy services and the spiritual and pastoral care services will be retained within the home in the years ahead".
Under the new arrangements, the Sisters of Mercy will stay in the convent next door.
In a statement, the diocese said: "It has become increasingly clear that the necessary competencies to run a care home in the 21st century are best provided by specialists in that sector.
"For this reason and for the long-term interests of residents, their families, carers and the staff of the home it has been decided, after a lengthy period of deliberation, to transfer ownership to experienced operators."
It said that in choosing to sell the home to Macklin, its first priority had been "to ensure continuity of care and the well-being of the residents".
A spokesman added: "The diocese is confident that the Macklin Group are fully committed to providing exceptional care and attention to every resident in a safe and warm environment.
"Their homes provide high standards of care in residential, nursing and dementia settings for long and short-term residents."
He said the diocese had worked closely with Macklin Care Homes to ensure that all staff would be kept.
Macklin Care Homes' first property was the Arlington on North Parade in south Belfast, which opened in 1987.
It also owns homes in Coleraine, Dunmurry, Magherafelt and Ballycastle.
The company employs a total of 450 people, including workers at the Malone Lodge Hotel on Eglantine Avenue in south Belfast.