Service users to lose out as Brothers of Charity Limerick look for €2m in cuts

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

“VASTLY reduced” funding from government and a Labour Court ruling that staff should be awarded long-outstanding wage increases mean the Brothers of Charity Services in Limerick are looking for €2 million in savings this year.

“VASTLY reduced” funding from government and a Labour Court ruling that staff should be awarded long-outstanding wage increases mean the Brothers of Charity Services in Limerick are looking for €2 million in savings this year.

And a confidential management document seen by the Limerick Leader makes clear that the Brothers’ intellectually disabled service users are about to suffer.

“Cost saving initiatives will result in a reduction in the quality of services provided to people with an intellectual disability,” the document states before going on to say every effort was being made to minimise the impact.

Management declined to comment on the proposals as they are a delicate stage in consultations with hundreds of Limerick families while negotiations with trade unions representing around 500 staff have not concluded.

It is understood that the closure of some community houses and moving the disabled and staff elsewhere; the relocation of some day services away from Bawnmore; as well as the withdrawal of night cover from some residential units are among the more contentious cutbacks.

But no cuts in respite services or no redundancies are currently being considered, the Limerick Leader has learned.

There is a cut proposed to the transport budget but it is understood this would not mean the charity would discontinue running buses for day services - a cost-cutting measure which has caused consternation for families at the Daughters of Charity Lisnagry.

Savings may instead come from transporting service users within the Bawnmore complex or there may be fewer outings, according to staff sources.

Financial pressure on the management has come from two directions. The HSE has reduced its allocation by almost €1 million, the latest in a succession of cuts. And the Labour Court has also ruled that staff, who qualify under the Croke Park Agreement, be paid increments withheld since 2009. This will cost another €837,000 in 2012.