By Sean Moriarty
A second Kerry-based disability care provider – St Mary of the Angels in Beaufort – will be forced to cut services after the HSE announced a county-wide cut of €160,000.
Last week the Killarney Advertiser revealed that Kerry Parents and Friends, which cares for 270 special needs patients, and is headquartered in Killarney, was left with a €60,000 shortfall in funding.
The Beaufort facility is home to 76 people with physical and intellectual disabilities.
Many residents have been living there for most of their lives.
It was founded by the Franciscan Sisters in 1968 on land donated to them by local couple Denis and Mary Doyle.
It is currently operated by St John of God Kerry Services which provides training, employment, social and residential programmes for over 300 children and adults.
As well as St Mary of the Angels in Beaufort, St John of God also operate in Cahersiveen, Castleisland, Dingle, Kenmare, Killarney, Killorglin, Listowel and Tralee.
“In 2009, our annual HSE Allocation was €17.2m,” Claire O’Dwyer, General Manager St John of God Kerry Services, told the Killarney Advertiser.
“In 2019 the allocation was €16.9m. Yet over this 10 year period, the level of service provided in Kerry grew significantly with a new day centre opening in Tralee and expansions in Listowel, Killarney and Killorglin.
“Over the last two years we have suffered further significant cuts totalling €272,000 and a further cut of €160,000 has been imposed for 2020. These cuts have been a significant contributor to our financial deficit which has come in at €1.25m for each of the last two years.
“Yet at the same time, we are obligated by the standards regulator HIQA to meet the appropriate number, qualifications and mix of staff required for the number of residents, their needs and the size of the our centre at Beaufort. For these reasons, we are deeply concerned over this latest cut which will result in a reduction of existing service provision.”
St John of God Kerry is backing the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies campaign to reverse the €20m cut that has been imposed on the disability sector nationally ahead of next Saturday’s General Election.