Funding cuts to Bara Project and Treo Nua must be reversed
Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh this afternoon secured a Dáil debate on the devastating funding cuts to two community addiction and rehabilitation projects in County Wicklow.
Speaking in the Dáil the Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson said:
"Following a meeting with my colleague Sinn Féin Councillor Eamonn Long on the funding cuts to the Bara Project and Treo Nua I have secured a Dáil debate on the devastating funding cuts to two community addiction and rehabilitation projects in County Wicklow.
"Successive Fianna Fáil led governments have talked tough on tackling drug addiction yet continuously refuses to put in place the necessary funding and supports. The full cost of the drugs crisis to society must be recognised. These costs are human, social and economic. The fall out includes overdoses, road deaths, hospital stays, policing and prison costs, absenteeism from work, social welfare payments, related crime, intimidation and the existence of an extensive criminal under world. The government has no option but to grasp this problem by investing in prevention, treatment and rehabilitation immediately.
"I intend to secure a firm guarantee from the Minister that he will intervene and in turn prevent these crippling cuts from going ahead.
"The Bara Project and Treo Nua are two community projects run by the County Wicklow Community Addiction Service. Both meet the support needs of drug users and recovering addicts in the East County Wicklow area including Greystones, Enniskerry, Roundwood, Laragh, Rathdrum, Newtownmountkennedy, Newcastle, Kilcoole, Rathnew, Ashford, Wicklow Town, Aughrim, Avoca, Arklow, Carnew, Tinahelly and Shilleagh.
"The Bara Project provides vital supports to people suffering addiction and to their families including advocacy, one-to-one supports, addiction counselling, holisitic therapies, drug education programmes, onward referral, Prison Links work, and information and advice on drugs, drug use and related health promotion. Since it was opened in January 2007 the Bara Project has provided support services to 348 individuals or families.
"Treo Nua is a rehabilitation project that provides vital support services to those in a situation that is stable or drug free in the form of a structured day programme. Although it was only established in January of this year it is already dealing with 35 referrals. This is likely to be a fraction of the real level of need in the area which will become increasingly visible as the projects becomes better established.
"The Bara Project and Treo Nua have been informed in writing that the two budgets are to be reduced one from €259,643 (2008) to €150,000 (2009) and the second from €474585 (2008) to €381,500 (2009).
"In 2007, the projects combined received a budget of €809,110. In 2008, this was reduced to €734,228 and now it is being further reduced to €531,500.
"The implications of these cuts are devastating and will result in staff cuts and access to support services. The Bara Project's funding is set to be cut by 37.5%. A staff post will be lost so some of those people seeking support to address their addiction, and their families, will have to be turned away.
"Likewise Treo Nua will lose one and a half staff posts as its funding is cut by 42% so it will not be able to meet the support needs that are out there amongst ex drug users who are seeking to move on with their lives." ENDS