St. Michael’s House Facing crisis due to on-going Budget Cutbacks.
Funding for St. Michael’s House has been cut back by €11.2 million since 2008, the organisation now facing into a fifth year of cuts, is deeply concerned about its ability to maintain its services.
Patricia Doherty, the Chief Executive of the North East region, stated that the group were calling in families from all over the country to discuss the implications of further cuts in December’s budget. Over 150 worried parents attended a meeting in Ballymun this week to be told how further cutbacks may impact on their families. Many angry parents were preparing to launch a pre-budget campaign to defend the services at St. Michael’s House.
Clare Daly TD for Dublin North has pledged support to campaign against any further cuts to this vital service. Daly said “This government and its predecessor have continually placed a burden on the most vulnerable sections of our communities in a desperate attempt to pay off gambling debts. Any further attacks should be met with vigorous opposition. People power will have to be utilised to shame this government into placing the economic burden onto the shoulders of those who created this crisis.”
St. Michael’s House has seen a reduction in their funding over the past four budgets from €83 million in 2008 down to €69 million in 2012. Cuts in funding combined with the recruitment moratorium have led to a serious stretching of resources for St. Michael’s House nationwide. This has meant a loss of 160 posts since 2009. Despite four years of cuts the staff at St. Michael’s House, to their credit, have maintained a high quality of service and have continued to support all new service users. But this organisation is now stretched to the limit and cannot take another cut without it having a devastating effect.
St Michael’s House provides 1,663 people with day services and 444 residential places. 283 parents with children using their services are over 70 years of age and 70 parents are over 80 years of age. Reduction in services even for one day will create huge problems for the service users at St. Michael’s House. Daly stated “it is vital that people take a united stand in opposition to any more attacks on these services”.