Is there hope for the future of Pieta House in Donegal?
A Donegal man who has dedicated much time and effort to fundraising for Pieta House believes there are still questions to answer.
That is despite assurances from the organisation in recent days that services in the Letterkenny-based Pieta House North West will continue.
Christy Galligan has long been associated with Darkness Into Light and is a former co-ordinator of the Pieta House fundraiser in Letterkenny. He has been raising many questions about the future of the service, not least on the gulf between what has been said publicly by CEO Elaine Austin and the reality of what is happening on the ground.
Particularly worrying was the news in recent weeks that five of the six therapists in Letterkenny were told not to take on any new clients.
Mr Galligan has been communicating with Pieta House since concerns first surfaced. He received a reply from Pieta House on behalf of Ms Austin which addresses some issues but which do not directly address others.
“This gives some clarity but there are a number of outstanding issues regarding staff who are still on notice and the type ad hoc therapy treatment people in need and families will get going forward,” said Mr Galligan.
In an email to Mr Galligan, Pieta House stated: “ Following the success of our ‘Sunrise’ appeal, we are now reviewing our services nationwide to ensure we can provide as much frontline and therapist hours as possible.
“We will maintain and, possibly, increase our services to the public once our review has been completed
“There will some re-deployment of personnel with the intention of putting as much resources as possible into the frontline and therapist hours
“There will be no downgrading of centres – in a centre such as Letterkenny, we may employ therapists directly rather than using contract staff.”
Mr Galligan is concerned by use in this reply of terms: ‘as much frontline and therapist hours as possible;’ ‘maintain and, possibly, increase our services;’ ‘as much resources as possible;’ ‘may employ therapists directly.’
A more concrete commitment to Pieta House North West is certainly needed to quell concerns by those most in need of this vital suicide prevention lifeline and their worried families.
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