“There are parents ringing me up asking: ‘Jackie, will you please do it yourself? I’ll pay you anything if you would do it yourself.’”
“It’s very difficult and what’s most difficult is, you have kids that love their dad, that love their mam but they’re stuck in the middle and that’s where issues arise then,” says Jackie.
Niall* has been attending supervised visits with his child in Grove Cottage since May.
“I was lucky to get into Togher, it was the only other option available to me that was affordable,” he told the Evening Echo.
“There are private places but they’re too expensive because I'm unemployed at the moment. I’ve seen some places that will charge as much as €100 a visit.”
“But I’m worried now about my visits at Togher because I’ve to go back to court in January.”
Niall* is not sure what other options he will have if the services close.
“If it does close, I don’t know how I’ll be able to afford another service. I’ll be stuck and I won’t be able to see my child, I’ll have no contact.”
Another father who previously used the service at Grove Cottage was John*.
“I didn’t see my kids for three years after my marriage broke down and it was suggested by a judge that I go visit Togher,” John* told the Echo.
“That it would be easier for us to have supervised visits there and it was the only way I could see my kids.”
The Judge asked John* to attend 10 sessions at Grove Cottage.
“It was just fantastic, to see my kids regularly. Togher was reporting to the court so they knew what was going on and they suggested that I was ready to see my kids outside of the centre.”
“I’d spend an hour and a half with them and afterwards Jackie would talk to me, give me advice about how I was with them, and what to do and what not to do.”
“If it wasn’t for Togher, I don’t think I’d be involved in my kids’ lives today. Every weekend, my children mention Togher and all the toys and the time they spent there and Jackie too.”
Tommy* also believes he wouldn’t see his children regularly if it wasn’t for Jackie Costelloe.
“I used to go to Togher twice a week for an hour, an hour and a half. It’s a nice little bungalow and it was really good to spend time there,” he told the Evening Echo.
“Jackie was really helpful. I see my kids regularly now and if it wasn’t for Togher, I don’t know if that would be happening now. When I went there, everything just clicked into place. Everything is perfect now for me. Me and my ex-partner are able to work away together now.
"Before we couldn’t even stay in the same room. We wouldn’t be best friends but we can do what’s best for our kids, and that’s all from Jackie. I think the services are a huge help and they would benefit anyone in my situation.”
*Names have been changed for anonymity.