A child protection charity – which offers services like Childline – is closing its office on the Kilkenny/Waterford border with the news described as “disappointing”.
The Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children is carrying out a “cost containment process nationwide” and is making ten positions compulsory redundant across the country.
Two of these positions, a Childline supervisor and a mentoring support worker, have been made redundant in the Waterford office with the vital charity confirming that it is also closing the Waterford office.
Ferrybank Councillor Melissa O'Neill said: "I'm calling on Government bodies and Ministers to intervene and support the service after the disappointing news.
“The ISPCC facility and service mentors up to 20 families a year and receives up to 30,000 calls a year through Childline in their premises in Waterford.
“It will be closed down fully by December 1 due to lack of Government funding.
"As Kilkenny, Tipperary, Wexford and Waterford will not have this vital service the region and our children are again been left behind."
The Director of Services at the ISPCC, Caroline O'Sullivan, said: “It is with great regret that the ISPCC has had to make the decision to close our Waterford office, which provided a mentoring service and hosted a Childline unit.
“This decision has been taken to ensure the overall sustainability of the organisation and services, as a measure of good governance.
“We looked at our income and our expenditure and we needed to make some cost savings.
“The ISPCC needs to raise over €5.5 million annually to cover its costs. Eighty per cent of this income is raised through fundraising.
“In Waterford, we've 21 volunteers working in Childline. Nine volunteers in mentoring, one advocacy volunteer and four volunteers currently on leave.
“The volunteers are devastated and we're devastated.
“The costs of running the office were just under €120,000 and we get statutory funding of €9,650. With rent and salaries we couldn't sustain it. That's the reality.
“There is a really important message here for children – Childline is available 24 hours a day to all children all over Ireland, and we are always here to listen.
“We are very sorry to be in a position to have to close any Childline unit. Childline volunteers are the backbone of the service, and we are so grateful to the team in Waterford, who have donated their time, some over many years, every week to listen to children and would like to thank them once again for their dedication and commitment to the organisation and to ensuring children are heard.
“The ISPCC is very open to the prospect of returning to work in the South-East should appropriate and sustainable funding become available. We continue to work with statutory and other bodies to seek funding opportunities.”
Childline continues to be available to all children, 24 hours a day on 1800 66 66 66, by texting help to 50101 or online at Childline.ie