Dungloe-based Councillor Noreen McGarvey has called for an urgent review of the decision to close group services at the Rosses Neighbour Youth Project.
Parents and young people in Dungloe and in Killybegs have been left reeling by reports that their local services are to close this week.
The NYP is a Foróige Youth Development Services that is particularly popular with young people who are not interested in sports.
Cllr McGarvey said: “Together with my local community of Dungloe, I am extremely disappointed and angry to learn that the NYP – Neighbour Youth Project is being withdrawn from our area, without consultation with the service users. Being in a RURAL area there is very limited options for our young children.
“The local NYP which has been running for approx 20 years, has meant so much to the young people and their families. An outlet where children with limited social skills, children with Autism and those suffering from ADHD have in particular advanced in self development due to the great work done through, activities, creativity, one to one guidance. It has given all children the chance to integrate with others from different schools and backgrounds.”
Cllr McGarvey said the project was a vital support for the local area.
“Being located in a very rural area in the North West, with a very limited public transport service, no resources locally for our young people. Referrals for such resources means travelling to Letterkenny some 100 miles return journey and not all families can take their children to appointments during school time or afford the cost of travelling for same. Also the backlog for services can mean a long waiting list.
Cllr MaGarvey commended Clare Gavigan, North West Area Manager, for her work developing the service in recent years.
“The services provided by Clare and the local volunteers in Dungloe has been outstanding, with children travelling from well outside the local catchment area coming to the NYP, therefore, I would ask all those responsible to strongly reconsider this decision and retain our NYP – and not take away from our children what has been a vital lifeline in our community.”
Donegal Daily contacted Foróige for a comment on the issue. A spokesperson issued this statement on Wednesday morning:
In line with Tusla’s plans to extend the availability of Tusla funded youth services in Donegal, Foróige was requested to broaden the reach of our services to cover a broader range of areas in the county. While Foróige staff will work on an outreach basis to cover a wider geographical area, no local community will be left without a service.
Foróige recognises that there has been upset and confusion locally in relation to this issue. We want to reassure young people and families that we will continue to work with Tusla and local communities to ensure minimum disruption to the young people who get such deep benefits from the Tusla funded youth services in the area. We will continue to strive to provide the best level of service possible to young people right across Donegal.