The owners of Coolaness Care Home, near Irvinestown, have said they will shut down the home as soon as they have helped find alternative accommodation for its 20 residents.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Four Seasons said: "After careful deliberation and consulting with the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority, Four Seasons Health Care has informed residents of Coolaness Care Home and their relatives that it plans to close the home. "

They say the decision has been reached "reluctantly" because the converted private house is no longer considered a suitable premises in which to deliver the quality of care that the company expects .

The existing building is unsuited to modernisation. Four Seasons has previously explored the potential to build a new home on the site but there have been planning issues.

"Four Seasons will endeavour to offers residents and their relatives a choice of better accommodation in its other homes nearby and will work with the Western Health & Social Care Trust and RQIA to ensure a smooth transition. The home will not close until this process is completed. The company will also attempt to offer some staff the opportunity to relocate from Coolaness to other homes." The home employs 37 people.

Ulster Unionist MLA Tom Elliott, party colleague Rosemary Barton and SDLP Councillor John O'Kane met with the management of Four Seasons Health Care on Friday.

"Obviously, we're very disappointed that management have signalled their intention to proceed with closure and we strongly urged them to consider the impact on the residents and also the staff.

"I trust that in the coming days the management of Four Seasons will carefully consider the points we made to them. I know this isn't an easy decision for them but I sincerely hope that the views of the residents and their families are taken fully into account," said Mr Elliott.

Sinn F�in MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone Phil Flanagan has also expressed his disappointment at the news.

"This is a disappointing decision on many fronts, both in terms of the impact it will have on residents and their families, but also as a result of the job losses that will come with it.

"Unfortunately, there have been problems in securing planning permission for a new building and as a result of that, Coolaness will now close and residents will be relocated to other care homes, and I would be extremely fearful that this will have a devastating impact on the well-being of the residents," he said.