A group representing the families of residents at a long-term care facility in east Cork is calling on the HSE to let an independent structural engineer assess the condition of the building which the HSE says is "no longer fit for purpose" and have earmarked for closure.

In June, 19 residents at the Owenacurra Centre in Midleton were told the facility - the only long-term residential facility of its kind in east Cork - would shut by the end of October with residents transferred to other facilities across the county.

Mary Hurley of the Friends of Owenacurra said they were heartened by the turnout of up to 200 people to a protest meeting in the town today, among them residents, their families, members of the local community, and local politicians.

"It was heartening to see that people care."

Ms Hurley's whose sister Anna is a long-term resident in the Owenacurra Centre said the Friends of Owenacurra want the HSE to let an independent structural engineer assess the HSE's building reports.

"It is very distressing not just for the family members, but for the residents themselves, that the date (for closure) has been extended, but there is no certainty around it, creating more anxiety and distressed for the residents."

Among those who addressed the gathering today was local FG TD for Cork East David Stanton and SF TD Pat Buckley, as well as Cork County Councillor Liam Quaide of the Green Party who was critical of the HSE's response to information requests.

"So, we referred those requests to the Public Accounts Committee and I think it is absolutely the least families can expect now is that they be allowed to appoint an independent structural engineer to assess the building and to assess how the building compares to alternative facilities and that also the Public Accounts Committee will get a chance to thoroughly examine all those documents."

The Friends of Owenacurra say further protests will take place in the coming weeks.