Cuts to youth services threaten young people – Buckley
Sinn Féin deputy Mental Health spokesperson Pat Buckley TD has condemned plans to cuts youth resources in Rathangan, Co Kildare, describing it as reckless and short sighted. He made his comments as part of a Topical Issue debate requested by Deputy Buckley following news that Kildare Youth Services would soon lose both a part time counsellor and youth worker position by the end of April.
Deputy Buckley said:
“Scooters Youth Club has provided a much needed community response to a spate of suicide death of local young people. They have continued to build on youth counselling services with a focus on mental health and wellbeing.
“Recent cuts led to youth counselling services ceasing operation last month, and a youth worker who is allocated for 19 hours per week to club is set to cease at the end of the month. This loss mean the local Youth Café opening hours will be cut by 82% to just 4 hours a week, well below department guidelines.
“Kildare Youth services believe that the cuts to funding will have a serious impact in the area which they feel is isolated geographically. There is also limited transport in the area, adding difficulty for young person’s seeking HSE led services outside Rathangan.
“The National Taskforce on Youth Mental Health established under this government stated its aim as ‘Bringing Youth Mental Health to the fore through our education System’. These cuts fly in the face of the Government’s stated intention to prioritising mental health.
“Young people deserve this service. The young people who these resources were put in place for have grown up, but a new generation with new challenges rely on them now. To remove them now is like drawing a bath, pulling out the plug once it is filling up and expecting it not to empty.
“Prevention is better than a cure, remove these resources now and they will only be more desperately needed in the future.
“Funding for the youth sector has been cut by 28.5% overall since 2008. This is a much wider issue than just Rathangan and the Minister and the Government need to be honest about the need for these services into the future, they are not emergency measures, they are the absolute minimum that must be provided to allow our young people to flourish.
“Scooters Club have very reasonably just asked to be part of the conversation about what happens to their resources, they were not consulted. They want the young people in the area to be asked about this. Consultation about services should happen but under no circumstances should these resources be removed.”