The Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) has said its decision to close the Cuisle Accessible Holiday and Respite Care Resort in Roscommon at the end of the month "didn't come easy."

The board and management of the association answered questions from TDs and senators at the Joint Committee on Health today.

A major public rally to try to save the Holiday Centre in Roscommon town is to take place this Saturday.

The board said the building, which is not owned by the association, is in need of significant repair works including full electrical installation and fire safety upgrades, which will cost in the region of €1.15m at a minimum.

"We are aware that there is asbestos in the building and there is a high risk that if this is disturbed during construction that the cost of necessary remedial works could escalate significantly," its CEO, Rosemary Keogh, said.

The "Irish Wheelchair Association does not have the funds to pay for these essential upgrades, which are vital to keeping the leased building open for respite," she added.

She said the association has engaged extensively with public representatives and funders but said "unfortunately there is no funding available to complete the essential capital works and no viable alternative has been proposed to Irish Wheelchair Association by any third party."

The board said it had no choice but to make the decision to close the building at the end of this month.

It said the association had contacted senior ministers about the state of the building over the past two years.

The IWA said it will commence its new holiday respite service in the west of Ireland in March 2020 in collaboration with the Health Service Executive.

But Sinn Féin's Martin Kenny told the committee that when he contacted a few of the designated hotels this morning and asked "if I  was coming in a wheelchair with particular needs and I needed a wheelchair hoist, all 4 I contacted said "not a hope".

The IWA acknowledged that the designated hotels would not have hoists but said specialist equipment would be provided if a wheelchair user wanted to visit a particular hotel.

Fine Gael Senator Maura Hopkins said: "We have little to no evidence in terms of closure of one service and providing a better replacement service. That's why everyone is extremely concerned."

Independent TD Denis Naughten asked what was going to happen to the funding that has been raised locally by the community.

The IWA said that "all funding that has been raised for Cuisle has been spent in Cuisle."

Fianna Fáil's Eugene Murphy said he "was deeply disappointed and quite distraught over the centre's closure".

Minister of State for Disability Issues Finian McGrath has previously said he welcomes the move away from providing respite in "congregated, health service settings, to integrated holiday services".

He said he is aware of the concerns which both service users and their families have about the ability of designated hotels to provide particular service requirements.