Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has said the decision by the children's Charity Barnardos to close its offices and services in the State for a week highlights the difficult financial pressures being experienced by Advocacy Groups and Charitable Organisations.
Deputy Crowe said:
“I understand the decision taken by Barnardos to close its offices for a week was made in late 2011 as a drastic cost saving measure to protect their services to children and families. This drastic measure was in response to increased financial pressure following cuts to Barnardos statutory income and a decline in voluntary contributions. While all of Barnardos services are closed this week, the Charity's seven shops will remain open.
“The suspension of Barnardos services comes at a time when there are increasing demands being placed on all groups dealing with poverty and disadvantage. It reflects the growing hardship being experienced by families who are struggling to cope in the face of rising unemployment, falling wages, cuts to benefits and increases in the cost of living.
“Organisations like Barnardos are on the frontline when dealing with these issues and they are often the last resource available to people who are experiencing the worst effects of the recession.
“It is a tribute to the commitment of their workers and highly commendable that the Barnardos staff voluntarily suspended their salary costs for a week to ensure services could continue. This important measure is more evidence of the staff’s commitment and dedication to the important work they are carrying out every day.
“Clearly however, the funding shortages being experienced by Barnardos are not sustainable and are compromising the important work they carry out with children and families and it is an issue that this Government must urgently address.
“With the rise in those at risk or already living in abject poverty and in the face of falling donations, it is essential that Barnardos and other charity organisations receive the necessary support that allows them to fulfil their important role in helping and supporting people who are most in need.”