Government urged to intervene amid Pieta House cutbacks

Government urged to intervene amid Pieta House cutbacks
Pieta House in ShanakielPicture: Eddie O'Hare

A COK TD has called on the Government to meet with Pieta House to address funding shortfalls, which have led to pay cuts and redundancies.

The mental health service, which has a Cork base in Shanakiel, had to cancel their annual Darkness Into Light walk, which usually takes place around this time of the year, which provides a significant amount of funding for the organisation.

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Pat Buckley said that mental health services shouldn’e be reliant on charitable donations.

“The government has a responsibility to see that these services are protected.

“The Covid-19 crisis has put great strain on the mental health of many communities and the services they depend on. 

"It has also made it very difficult for charities which provide mental health supports to raise their needed funding beyond what they receive from the public purse,” Deputy Buckley said.

He went on to say that many people working on the frontline require mental health support at the moment after being exposed to some traumatic or stressful situations.

“I am calling on the government to address the issue directly and work with Pieta House to resolve the funding problem. 

"Workers with expertise in mental health provision should not be out of work at any time, but especially during a pandemic. 

"If necessary, staff should be made part of the public system and able to continue their work in that way,” Deputy Buckley said.

“Pieta House does excellent work filling the gap created by years of government neglect of mental health services. 

"In this difficult time the government must act to ensure these services are not lost,” he concluded.

Speaking in recent days, Pieta CEO, Elaine Austin, said: “We understand this is a very difficult time for our dedicated staff and we deeply regret having to take this step.

“With the loss of our flagship annual fundraising event, Darkness into Light, we have been left with a very significant funding gap and in order to keep our doors open to clients, we must make these very difficult decisions."

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