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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Topical issue debate - Addiction treatment services [Funding, Dublin].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Topical issue debate - Addiction treatment services [Funding, Dublin]. (02 Mar 2017)


Deputy Noel Rock: I am grateful to be given the opportunity to speak on this issue, which is a concern for many people in the Finglas area. The Finglas Addiction Support Team, FAST, works tremendously hard in partnership with participants, their families and communities to create a more inclusive society in Finglas and to ensure participants become active citizens in the context of their own well-being and that of their local community. I had the pleasure of meeting the FAST team at its centre last year and getting the chance to talk to those involved. It gave me a great insight into the work it does on a daily basis to help people in the Finglas area who are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.


In April 2013, the Dublin North Addiction Service commenced a cross-task force pilot initiative. This initiative, known as the community alcohol response and engagement, CARE, pilot project was rolled out on a phased basis across three task forces - Finglas, Ballymun and the regional task force - between September 2014 and June 2015. Under the CARE initiative, FAST made an application in 2014 for the funding for the appointment of two clinical nurses for the centre. These appointments would go a long way in helping the centre achieve its goals and its vision for those who benefit from the great work from this centre and in general, the Finglas area.


I fully appreciate that the Department and the HSE have an obligation to remain within their respective allocated budgets. However, it has now been three years since FAST made the application for these positions. Every year it receives the same response that these posts will be kept under review for Estimates for the following year's budget and every year they are kept waiting.


Having studied the three-year strategic plan for FAST from 2014 to 2016, some of the findings relating to the profile of the Finglas community are concerning and as a public representative for Finglas I feel the Government can be doing more to ensure services such as FAST are funded adequately.


I hope I can be in a position to go back to residents and service providers in the area and say that the Government is working for areas such as Finglas and for its residents. However, the Government needs to be aware of the barriers that are in place to tackle the issues that are occurring in disadvantaged areas, such as Finglas, which are faced with drug use, violence and incidents of suicide. While, indeed, these incidents are not limited to Finglas and affect many communities in the north Dublin area, the fact is that FAST as a service is based in Finglas, FAST needs these resources and FAST is not getting these resources.


The funding by the Department through the HSE for the appointment of these positions would go a long way to helping people in this area. It would also be a positive message from the Government that it has not forgotten about those living in these areas, and to the hard working service providers who work day in, day out and who are trying to enact positive changes within these communities.


While I appreciate that the Minister of State is working within limited budgetary constraints, I ask her and the Department to reflect on the fact that this request has been there since 2014 and has been deferred consistently year on year, and yet the need is no less great now than it was then.


Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Catherine Byrne): The Health Service Executive has provided the Department with an update regarding the funding for the appointment of two clinical nurses for the Finglas Addiction Support Team through the Community Alcohol Response and Engagement, CARE, initiative……….


[For the full debate, click on this link]

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