Limerick anti-drugs charity is set to be wound up

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

one of Limerick’s most prominent charities is to shut down after government cuts of more than a quarter of a million euro.

one of Limerick’s most prominent charities is to shut down after government cuts of more than a quarter of a million euro.

ALJEFF, the charity which delivers services to those with addiction problems and their families in Limerick city, is to be wound up by the board of the company, after its funding from the Mid-West Drugs Task Force was chopped by €260,000 last year.

Some 14 full-time jobs have been lost at the Ballysimon Road charity, which has helped well over 400 people in the last year alone.

However, a contingency plan has been put in place with the HSE in order to ensure there is a continuation of service in the medium term - to protect the clients they are helping at present.

ALJEFF was founded in 2000 in response to a growing need for services to combat a growth in serious addiction, and substance-related suicide.

The charity’s unique name is inspired by Alan and Jeffery Roache, two brothers who took their own lives within days of each other as a result of alcohol and other drug use.

ALJEFF chairman Pat O’Sullivan said the HSE is funding the service in short term, while the staff in ALJEFF have been moved to short-term contracts within the health service.

These contracts are provided on an indefinite basis until further plans are made.

“There should be no shortfall in service. These will be maintained and provided in the immediate future from our offices. We have a lot of sensitive clients who need this continuity of service,” Mr O’Sullivan told the Limerick Leader.

Over the last few years, the charity has become more reliant on state funding after donations from members of the public fell. It was public donations which initially saw the charity open.

In a statement, the HSE, ALJEFF and the Mid-West Drugs Task Force said they hoped to launch a replacement service in the coming months.

“The combined expertise we have put in place with counsellors and staff should not be lost. There is a huge strength there, and this should not be dissipated. Even though it is a sad time, and we have come to the end of a 12 year service, I think something could come out of this - but we need public support and help,” Mr O’Sullivan added.

A creditors meeting for ALJEFF is to be organised shortly for mid-January.

Anybody concerned about their programmes or treatment can continue to contact ALJEFF’s existing office on 061 319053 regarding contingency services.