Green Party TD for Dublin South-Central, Patrick Costello, has called on the Government to urgently supply funding for PPE for local Drug and Alcohol Task forces.
He commented: “Local Drugs and Alcohol Task forces work tirelessly year-round to provide meaningful support to the lives of vulnerable people and communities, and are already facing significant financial challenges. Despite the fact that the demand for drugs and alcohol has soared since local and regional task forces were set up in the 1990s, there has been no increase in State funding to support their work for over six years.
“This is now being exacerbated by the urgency to source PPE for their staff with no additional funding being provided by the HSE. This is not only incredibly time-consuming for staff, but it is not financially sustainable and could have serious knock-on effects long-term for their work.
“Local task forces remain committed to providing high quality support for all those who are affected by drug and alcohol misuse, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Some staff help up to 79 vulnerable homeless service users every day with no access to protective equipment. If they are to continue to provide such vital services, they need a safe environment to work in.
“I have written to the Minister calling for an urgent review of the situation. At a time when we are trying to tackle the rise in Ireland’s drug and alcohol misuse, the funding of local task forces must be viewed as a matter of investing in broader public health. It is imperative that staff are provided with the necessary equipment to allow them to continue their challenging but essential work,” concluded Deputy Costello.
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