A couple from Co Monaghan, who are both wheelchair users, have been told they can no longer access a daycare service because they are over 65.

Michael and Geraldine Mooney from Castleblayney were recently informed the centre now only caters for those aged between 18 and 65.

They say the move has left them devastated.

"Stunned, extremely upset. It took the best part of a month to us to really try and come to terms with it. At the end of August we have been told that we have to move out. 

"We're over 65 and that's the reason. They want to move us out in order to bring in new people."

Geraldine, who is 67, has suffered from MS for over 30 years and now has to use a wheelchair.

Michael, who is 68, has limited mobility following a crash and a stroke.

They were told in June that because they are over 65 they are no longer eligible for the daycare service at the Crannog centre where they spent six hours every day, Monday to Friday.

The centre offers various services to users, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy and chiropody. 

It also offers service users courses in areas such as arts and crafts, and computers.

"It's our lifeline, we look forward to so much to it," said Geraldine. 

"There are activities there. We do computers and arts and crafts. We have lots of things going on. We are at home in that building. The staff are extremely nice."

The couple, who have two older children living in Dublin, said it gave provided peace of mind for everyone.

"Mammy and Daddy are in a safe place, they're being cared for and looked after. It made them content. They were stunned when we gave them the news, that Crannog was coming to an end come the end of August," she added.

In a statement, the HSE today apologised and said that at the age of 65 service users transfer to services for older people.

It said: "Crannog Day Care Services in line with the Physical and Sensory Team Disability Services have eligibility criteria for service users to apply to attend the day centre, which is a facility for those aged between 18 to 65 years of age.

"At the age of 65 years, service users transfer to services for older people.

"We are unable to comment on the circumstances surrounding an individual case.

"However, we wish to acknowledge any inconvenience caused to the family and apologise for this.

"The relevant HSE Home Help and Disability services are liaising with the family directly with regards to their care needs."

Local Fianna Fáil TD Niamh Smyth has written to the HSE and today called on Minister for Health Simon Harris to take action.

She said: "It's a very wrong thing to do to older people in our communities. 

"It's going to affect at least nine people we know of. I'm calling on the minister to ensure that people are not just thrown out on to the streets. 

"There's people of 80 years of age attending this service and they received no notice that this was going to happen.".

Geraldine Mooney believes the HSE should reconsider the move.

"To the outside world we might seem good and we're getting by, but the smallest of jobs can be a struggle," she said.

"It is an uphill battle for both of us. The centre is our lifeline. Every part of it is important to us and has looked after us in so many ways. Otherwise, we'd be sitting at home."