Fears for Cuan Mhuire, Athy, funding as budget approaches

There are fears that future funding for Cuan Mhuire could be under threat as the budget approaches.

There are fears that future funding for Cuan Mhuire could be under threat as the budget approaches.

This year, the charity will provide over 13,000 bed nights for those in need of detox and addiction treatment nationwide.

“This is an enormous contribution to our country and if we were unable to continue because of financial pressures, what a loss it would be for those in addiction and for their families who suffer so much,” said the charity’s founder, Sr. Consilio Fitzgerald.

“Cuan Mhuire wants to continue to help people and we are concerned lest we should be able to do so through lack of funding. However, we are convinced that if we get our fair share of the scarce resources available we will be able to not only continue but increase our services for those who need them,” she stressed.

Cuan Mhuire provides residential detox programmes for up to 2,400 people a year at centres in Athy, Limerick, Galway, Cork, Tipperary and Down.

“We are fully aware that money is very scarce in our country at the moment and that every effort must be made to provide “value for money”. Over the past 46 years Cuan Mhuire has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that it provides value for money and wants to continue to do so because it wants to reach out to help and support those who need our help because of addiction especially those who are marginalised and have no place else to go and to families who suffer so much because of a loved one’s addiction,” explained Sr. Consilio.

She stressed that one of the things that enabled it to provide so much with so little resources was due to the fact that many of the staff worked voluntarily, more often than not seven days a week and well into the night. “Some of us are no longer young. We hope we will always have volunteers as they make a wonderful contribution to the work of Cuan Mhuire,” she said.

She praised the contribution volunteers have made and continue to make to Cuan Mhuire.

“Our current funding does not allow for that. I have no doubt but that if Cuan Mhuire were to get its fair share of the limited resources that are available Cuan Mhuire would be able to continue all of its services and much more for those in addiction and their families,” she continued.

Cuan Mhuire provides 54% of all residential addiction treatment in the country. It provides detoxification, treatment and rehabilitation for approximately 2,400 people a year.

It has approximately 600 beds nationwide - 80 of which are detox beds. It is very difficult and hugely expensive to get a hospital detox.

“When a person is in the throes of addiction, they need detoxification and if it weren’t for Cuan Mhuire where would our most vulnerable people go? What would their families do?,” questions the Athy nun.

Sr. Consilio hopes that prior to the budget, state funds to all residential addiction treatment centres would be looked at very carefully, taking into account clientele in each case, whether it is a private patient or social welfare recipient.

She also wants the distribution of Drugs Task Force funds to be considered carefully and allocated fairly. 

“All of us have to pick up and deal positively with the damage that addiction is creating in our country. All the more reason that funding should be fair and proportionate.

“Organisations like Cuan Mhuire who are helping people all over the country in all kinds of ways simply will not be able to continue their work. The State does not have the support in place to deal with this situation,” concluded Sr. Consilio.