Drugs service forced to shut as funds dry up

by Gazette Reporter
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The Greater Blanchardstown Response to Drugs, which has provided services in Dublin 15, is set to close next month due to a lack of funding.
The service is part of the Blanchardstown Local Drugs Task Force and is funded through the Health Services Executive (Northern Area) under the National Drugs Strategy Team.
This lack of funding has come about due to the fact that Dublin North City and County Regional Drugs Task Force withdrew a substantial amount of its funding last December. Another key factor in the closure of the service is the recent resignation of project co-ordinator Phillip Keegan, for personal reasons.
The local task force had been warned by Government sources in October that its funding was to be cut for the sixth successive year in the budget.
“The decision was taken at a recent board meeting,” said drugs response board chairman Eddie Mathews.
“We were looking at the viability of it going forward. We took financial advice and really we would be trading recklessly to go ahead and that would be unfair to the board members.”
Dublin West Sinn Fein representative Paul Donnelly has expressed his anger and frustration.
“I am shocked and angry at the recently announced closure of Blanchardstown Response to Drugs towards the end of May. This is a project that is 22 years in existence, firstly as a voluntary group of individuals who were forced into action due to the dearth of supports, education and prevention initiatives in the Dublin West community and latterly as a funded project that initiated very successful education programmes. As a long time board member and twice chairperson of ADAPT drug and alcohol service and the local drugs task force, I am acutely aware of the massive issue funding is for all the projects that provide services in our community, many of them including our own have been stripped down to the bone. There is nothing left to cut,” he added.
“It is proven beyond doubt that community based projects work in supporting problematic drug users to become drug free and start to rebuild their lives. The cost of this short-term decision will result in massive long-term financial and societal costs to our communities and their families.”

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