Thirty jobs to be lost at St. Catherine’s Association ‘a devastating blow’

St.Catherine's school, Newcastle (Pic.Shayne Phelan)

St.Catherine's school, Newcastle (Pic.Shayne Phelan)

St.Catherine’s school, Newcastle (Pic.Shayne Phelan)

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady TD described the news this morning that up to thirty jobs are set to be lost at St. Catherine’s Association across Wicklow as ‘a devastating blow for service users.’

Teachta Brady said:

“St. Catherine’s Association is a non-profit making organisation which provides education, training, healthcare and respite care to clients who have intellectual and other disabilities throughout County Wicklow.

“The news that up to thirty jobs will be lost from June is a devastating blow for the staff, the community of St. Catherine’s and indeed, the wider community.

“This is a very sad day for the thirty members of staff and their families who have received this news earlier this morning. These job losses are also a huge blow for the local economy in towns across Wicklow.

“It appears that the issue at play here is who pays for the transport provided by St. Catherine’s Association for children attending the School. This issue should have been addressed by Minister Harris if he had stepped in, communicated with Minister Bruton and made arrangements to find an alternative source to finance this service.

“It is now apparent that the school transport currently provided by St. Catherine’s Association for children attending St. Catherine’s Special School will cease at the end of this school term. I am informed that Bus Éireann will take responsibility for school transport for the 2017/18 school term. However, definite arrangements are yet to be put in place as to the logistics of this. Central to any changes must be to ensure that the least amount of disruption is caused to children and their families.

“In recent times, St Catherine’s has witnessed a number of changes with the downgrading of services and the closure of Avalon, Woodmount and Barnacoyle.

“I have sent correspondence to Ministers Harris and Bruton and I await their response as to their knowledge and involvement in relation to this issue.

“It is essential that the funding stream for the current transport service is secured and the jobs under threat are protected so that this critical service can continue.”

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