A new petition has been launched to save the life-saving services of Pieta House in Letterkenny, which is thought to be under threat of closure.
Mental health charity Pieta House has been called to clarify its position in the north west after most staff members were been put on notice in recent weeks.
A restructuring operation is set to reduce support staff to just one full-time therapist. Cllr Ciaran Brogan yesterday revealed that the Letterkenny manager has also been put on notice, two part-time administration staff were let go in January with two more due to be laid off in June.
News of the major reduction in services has sparked a local campaign to save the centre, which saw more than 500 people pass through its doors last year.
Christy Galligan, a former coordinator of Darkness into Light in Letterkenny, said he was shocked by the possible closure of Pieta North West. He has launched an online petition to highlight the vital need of the service.
“I was so perplexed by the decision of Pieta House HQ that I was compelled to start a petition on change.org to ensure that the centre remains open and that the staff employed, both full and part-time, would not lose their jobs,” Mr Galligan said.
“Over 500 people passed through its doors last year. These are made up of families who obtain bereavement counselling due to suicide or people who need therapy to deal with suicidal ideation.
“This underscores who absolutely vital this service is to the North West. If Pieta House HQ closes its doors to the North West due to stringent financial policies and oversight then it has lost its status as a person-centred charity.”
Mr Galligan added that he has sought further clarity on the matter from Pieta House headquarters.
“In a time of uncertainty and lockdown during a pandemic, Pieta HQ’s decision could be seen as surreptitious to say the least from an ordinary person point of view.”
The petition has gained over 700 signatures on change.org.
Fear over the closure come just a day before Pieta House’s major fundraising campaign – the Darkness Into Light Sunrise Appeal.
While the annual Darkness into Light walks cannot take place this year due to Covid-19 restrictions, people are being asked to show community and solidarity with those impacted by suicide by getting up at 5:30am on 9th May to watch the sunrise from their homes.
“Without the funds raised by this event, all of Pieta’s services are now facing an immediate and devastating financial crisis,” the Darkness into Light appeal states.