Funding to Rathangan Youth Services must be protected – Buckley
Sinn Féin TD and deputy Mental Health spokesperson Pat Buckley has called on the Minister for Health Simon Harris to commit to protecting youth services in Rathangan, Co. Kildare, following news that cuts planned to local services will result in the loss of a counselling and youth work position. Describing the cut as devastating to a community which needs more support, not less, Deputy Buckley said the Minister cannot claim to care about youth mental health while on the other hand cutting the very services that young people depend on for support.
The Cork East TD said:
“We have heard a lot about this Government’s concern for youth mental health. They set up a taskforce last year to much fanfare, but when it comes to paying for these essential services, it seems that is a bridge too far for the Minister and his Government. It is totally unacceptable.
“Unless the Minister intervenes and stops this cut, he is very clearly talking out of both sides of his mouth and this is far too serious an issue for such cynical behaviour. Current youth services funding is down 28.5% since 2008.
“The counsellor and youth worker that will be lost if this cut goes ahead this month have been in place for 3 years and have done tremendous work in an area hard hit in the last few years and experiences a higher than average suicide rate among young people.
“The loss will mean the closure of the new youth cafe for all but 4 hours a week. This goes against the Government’s own statements on best practice for Youth Cafes.
“I will continue to raise this matter with the Minister until this cut is revoked and the future of these services is ensured.”