Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady has expressed serious concerns about the future of St. Catherine's Association which is based in Newcastle and provides care to clients who have intellectual and other disabilities. Staff at the HSE funded unit were informed today that the contracts of 30 staff members who where on temporary contracts would end in a months time and they would not be extended or replaced. More meetings are due to be held with respite staff and other staff members over the next few days and it appears others staff members are to be cut too.
Cllr John Brady said "I have real concerns about St. Catherine's and their ability to maintain the excellent level of service and care they provide here in Wicklow. Staff members were called into a number of meetings on Tuesday and 30 staff members on temporary contracts were given 1 months notice that their contracts would be ceasing. During the course of the day other meeting were planned with respite staff and others. At this moment we don't have a full picture as to how many staff will go or how many will remain, but its safe to say this is devastating news for everyone connected with St. Catherine's. I also feel deeply for the staff and their families whose contracts are to be terminated, they have given many years service to the people of Wicklow and everything must be done to try save the positions."
Cllr Brady continued "St. Catherine’s Association is a non-profit making organisation which provides education, training, healthcare and residential/respite care to clients who have intellectual and other disabilities. St. Catherine’s Association is funded substantially by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to provide a range of services to families in County Wicklow. These services include Early Intervention for children from birth to age six, Pre-Schools, National School, Respite/Residential living, Outreach, Nursing, Speech & Language Therapy, Physiotherapy, Psychology, Positive Behaviour Support, Occupational Therapy, Transport and other supports."
Brady went on to say "St. Catherine's currently meets the needs of over 250 children and families in County Wicklow and cuts over the last number of years have made things difficult. However the loss of any staff will have an impact and cuts of such a large number is bound to have a detrimental impact. I am planning on having the issue raised in the Dáil with the Minister and i am looking for a full statement on the matter from the HSE."
Cllr Brady continued "These cuts will impact on the most needy in our society here in Wicklow and i am calling on Wicklow's 4 government TD's to intervene immediately to stop these jobs losses that will devastate the excellent service that's provided by St. Catherine's."