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'It's a huge loss to the community': Staff protest closure of drug treatment service in Dublin

Staff at Adapt in Dublin were told last month that the service was winding down.

Outside Adapt
Outside Adapt
Image: ADAPT

WORKERS IN A community drug treatment service in Dublin have requested a meeting with Leo Varadkar after they were told that the facility was closing.

Staff at Adapt in Blanchardstown were informed at the end of last month that the service that has operated in the area for the past 18 years was shutting down.

A total of 13 full-time staff work at the centre. They were given six weeks’ notice at the end of May. The service will officially cease on 7 July.

However, a fire at the main centre in the Coolmine Industrial Estate over the June Bank Holiday weekend has led to the closure of the building.

Staff are currently only providing outreach services, and the centre will not open before Adapt ceases operating entirely.

A protest against the closure will be held later this afternoon at Mulhuddart Village.

Workers have written to Minister of State Catherine Byrne and Varadkar (who is a local TD in the area) requesting a meeting over the closure.

Adapt began operating in the late 1990s. It is a drop-in and support service for people dealing with drug issues.

The organisation provides wrap-around support for people dealing with drug or alcohol misuse issues. It provides social care services, crisis management and intervention, one-to-one support and an outreach service among others.

It also provides a childcare service for people who are seeking treatment.

The service would deal with in the region of a thousand people a year across its services.

Adapt had been funded by the HSE, but was its own company with its own Board of Management.

The Board of Management announced to staff last month that they were closing Adapt, and making the 13 staff redundant. Staff claim they were not given a reason why.

“Unbelievable” 

Maureen Penrose – who lobbied to have the service opened 20 years ago before becoming a full-time worker there – told TheJournal.ie that staff at the service were deeply disappointed with the decision to close.

“I think it’s a huge loss to the community,” said Penrose.

Now we’re back to where we were 20 years ago, lobbying to have more service for the area.

Penrose claimed staff had been kept in the dark about why the Board of Management had decided to close the centre.

She said the Board had approached staff with a restructuring plan for the organisation at the end of March. Staff did not accept the plan, which included a number of redundancies.

Penrose said that staff were then informed last month that they were being made redundant.

TheJournal.ie contacted the director of the board in relation to the closure. The director said that Board was not commenting on the closure.

The HSE said in a statement that it “fully supports” the decision of the Board to wind down Adapt.

Community

Local Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger – who is supporting the workers – told TheJournal.ie that the local community would suffer as a result of the closure.

“It’s very unfair,” said Coppinger.

To just simply close it down and make redundant staff with lots of experience.

Coppinger said that Varadkar and Byrne should meet with the workers to discuss their issues.

The HSE said that it was working hard to ensure that all Adapt service users would be linked in with and transferred to other supports in the area.

“Our priority now is to ensure that service users are linked in with other services in the area and that these services are enhanced and sustainable,” said Donal Cassidy CHO DNCC.

Adapt staff said many services will be lost in this transition, including the drop-in and childcare services.

Read: ‘It takes me away from this world for the day’: Life as a homeless drug-user on the streets of Dublin

Read: Cannabis is the most commonly used illegal drug among young adults in Ireland (but MDMA use is on the rise)

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About the author:

Cormac Fitzgerald

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