Marymount services under threat due to funding shortage

Marymount services under threat due to funding shortage
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, who plans to raise the issue in the Dáil.Picture: Darragh Kane

MANAGEMENT at Marymount Hospice has told Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin that it will be forced to cut services next year if its public service funding is not increased to cover increased staffing costs.

Representatives of Marymount and four other hospices met with Mr Martin and told him that, despite being linked to the public sector, they are not getting extra state funding to cover the costs of public sector pay restoration.

Last month, when questioned in the Dáil by Mr Martin, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that the hospices are independent, despite being 75% funded by the state, and were not obliged to increase their pay in line with the public sector.

However, they gave Mr Martin a 2013 memo from the HSE, seen by the Evening Echo, which said that HSE funded agencies were to comply with the Haddington Road Agreement cuts. 

A group of staff challenged the cuts at the time, but the Labour Relations Court ruled that their pay and conditions were linked to those of their equivalents in the public sector.

"It's bizarre. It's ridiculous," said Mr Martin, who plans to raise the issue with the Taoiseach in the Dáil again. 

He said "there is no question" that hospices like Marymount will have to cut their services if their state funding is not increased, as their finances are already stretched.

He said even if hospices' pay was not linked to the HSE's, they would have to increase it anyway in order to compete.

"They will find it difficult to retain staff and recruit staff," he said.

He said that the fact that they are independent bodies carrying out an essential service of the state is "an accident of history" and an "anomaly" that needs to be addressed.

He said that Marymount evokes huge support in Cork and that almost everyone had some link to it.

"It has a great ethos. It gives families and people with certain conditions the space to deal with those at a vulnerable time," he said.

"It's bizarre. It's ridiculous," said Mr Martin, who plans to raise the issue with the Taoiseach in the Dáil again. 

He said "there is no question" that hospices like Marymount will have to cut their services if their state funding is not increased, as their finances are already stretched.

He said even if hospices' pay was not linked to the HSE's, they would have to increase it anyway in order to compete.

"They will find it difficult to retain staff and recruit staff," he said.

He said that the fact that they are independent bodies carrying out an essential service of the state is "an accident of history" and an "anomaly" that needs to be addressed.

He said that Marymount evokes huge support in Cork and that almost everyone had some link to it.

"It has a great ethos. It gives families and people with certain conditions the space to deal with those at a vulnerable time," he said.

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