Pieta House forced to cut salaries and staff

Pieta House forced to cut salaries and staff

By Aideen O'Flaherty

SUICIDE and self-harm charity Pieta House has cut staff salaries by up to 30 per cent, while a number of employees are facing redundancy.

Since the announcement of the cuts, tonight’s Late Late Show on RTE will be dedicated to fundraising for Pieta House and mental health services.

Pieta House compressor

Pieta House in Lucan

The charity, which has locations in Lucan, Tallaght and Ballyfermot, relies on its annual Darkness Into Light fundraiser to raise a significant amount of funding for its services, however it has had to be cancelled as a result of lockdown measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, the charity has cut staff salaries and 28 of its clinical support workers were given redundancies last month as part of a Voluntary Severance Scheme, and temporary lay-offs and non-renewal of contracts are also expected.

Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Mid-West, Mark Ward, said: “Pieta House provides essential mental health services across the State, in many cases in areas and communities which lack adequate public services or resources.

“Sinn Féin have long made the point that mental health services should not be dependent on charitable donations but rather that the government has a responsibility to see that these services are protected.

“In my own area in Dublin Mid-West we are lucky to have Pieta House on our doorstep in Lucan, in fact Lucan was the first location that Pieta House started off from.

“I have known numerous people over the years who have been helped by Pieta House.

“The Covid-19 crisis has put great strain on the mental health of many communities and the services they depend on. It has also made it very difficult for charities which provide mental health supports to raise their needed funding beyond what they receive from the public purse.

“Many people working in our frontline services are being exposed to traumatic and stressful situations and require mental health support at this difficult time.

“I am calling on the government to address the issue directly and work with Pieta House to resolve the funding problem.

“Workers with expertise in mental health provision should not be out of work at any time, but especially during a pandemic. If necessary, staff should be made part of the public system and able to continue their work in that way.

“Pieta House does excellent work filling the gap created by years of government neglect of mental health services. In this difficult time the government must act to ensure these services are not lost.”

Pieta House first opened its doors in Lucan in 2006, and since then has grown to be a nationwide service with 15 centres and five outreach services.

See page 8 (May 7 2020 edition) for information on Pieta House’s Sunrise Appeal taking place this Saturday May 9.

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