Call to cancel St Michael’s €1m cut

by Gazette Reporter

SERVICES to people with an intellectual disability across the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown area are to be severely curtailed, according to the service provider, St Michael’s House, following the Government’s recent announcement that another €1m is to be cut from the organisation’s budget this year.

St Michael’s House was informed of the further cut last month, which comes on the heels of an initial budgetary cut of 1.36% for 2013.

The €1m reduction will be backdated and applied from July 1. This brings the total figure cut from St Michael’s House budget to €12.3m in six years.

There are 11 St Michael’s House centres in the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown area, including Whitehall Lodge and The Pines, in Taney Rise.

In a letter to those who use the service, Patricia Doherty, chief executive, St Michael’s House, said: “I regret to advise you of a very significant worsening of the financial position for St Michael’s House.

“We have urged the HSE and the Government in the strongest possible terms to reverse these unfair cuts.”

St Michael’s House is now curtailing its services because of the new cut. Residential services will close for one day a month, reductions to the provision of transport will occur, and rent subsidies for users will be stopped.

St Michael’s House is urging constituents to lobby their politicians to have the cuts reversed. The organisation has 1,679 day service users, and 454 residential users.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said: “It is understood a meeting has been arranged between the HSE and St Michael’s House to discuss this issue further and to agree a position in relation to the budget reductions and impact of same.”

The findings from this meeting are expected next week.

Cllr Hugh Lewis (PBP) said: “Vital services, such as those offered by St Michael’s House, are being slashed. This proposal must immediately be reversed to allow St Michael’s to continue to function properly.”

Cllr Denis O’Callaghan (Lab) said: “I will be raising the issue at the next meeting of the Dublin Mid-Leinster Health Forum, to be held on September 17, where I will be asking the HSE to explain the rationale for these cuts.”

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