Fine Gael Seanad Spokesperson on the Community, Senator Jerry Buttimer, today (Thursday) questioned the Government’s commitment to drug rehabilitation provision in Cork and to the new Fellowship House residential treatment facility at Togher for which planning permission has been received and tender reports have been submitted more than nine months ago.
“Despite the fact the new poly addiction rehabilitation facility at Spur Hill, Togher has the full support and approval of Cork County Council, and that the Department of Environment received the tender reports on 4th February last, the Government has allowed the project to be sidelined by refusing to allocate the necessary funding.
“The recent announcements by Minister for Foreign Affairs, the HSE and the Minister responsible for Drugs on the allocation of funding for drug services in Cork do nothing to address the fundamental issue at hand, which is that we have a waiting list for entry into Fellowship House and a proposed development that has effectively been stalled. There is little value in announcing possible funding for projects when what is need is clear and demonstrable action.
“There is a 95% occupancy rate for the services provided by Renewal Sheltered Housing and Fellowship House so there is no doubt about the demand for this facility.
“Fellowship House has been providing accommodation for men in the early stages of recovery from alcohol, drug and gambling addictions since before it was popular to do so. It is now attempting to embark on an ambitious programme to develop a new residential facility to provide much needed step down facilities for men not only from Cork City and County but from the entire country.
“I appreciate that we are in stringent economic times but 96% of people admitted to Fellowship House are unemployed and homeless. The proposed new development would provide an opportunity to take a real initiative on behalf of the most vulnerable in society and give them an opportunity to rebuild their lives. It is about providing people with a chance to change which is being missed by this delay funding.
“If we are serious about the National Drugs Strategy we need to deal with the pillar of rehabilitation which this Government is spectacularly failing to address. With this project we can drive the strategy forward in a positive manner with positive outcomes and success. The Government must stop dithering on the issue and tackle the spiralling drug crisis in Cork once and for all by allocating the funds needed to get this vital service off the ground.”