Neurological services hit by new funding cuts

Some organisations dealing with chronic pain and services to the elderly may close

Chris Macey of the Neurological Alliance of Ireland: Cuts have ‘been a massive shock’

Chris Macey of the Neurological Alliance of Ireland: Cuts have ‘been a massive shock’


Eleven neurological organisations receiving support for vital community services in areas such as motor neurone disease, stroke and dementia have lost funding under a Department of the Environment scheme for voluntary organisations.

The Neurological Alliance of Ireland, which represents 31 organisations and 700,000 people with neurological conditions, said it now faced having to cease operations after losing its core funding.

The total lost to neurological charities is almost €1.5 million.

According to the alliance many member organisations will be forced to axe crucial frontline services and staff.

These organisations include MS Ireland, Muscular Dystrophy Ireland, the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association, the Migraine Association of Ireland, the Huntington’s Disease Association, Chronic Pain Ireland, ABI Ireland, the Alzheimer Society and Irish Heart Foundation Stroke Action.

Alliance chairman Chris Macey said the “effective targeting” of the sector which supports people already suffering hardship, “has been a massive shock”.

‘Gratuitously callous’

The failure of the authorities to give prior warning of the cut “appears gratuitously callous”, he said.

“Failure by the State to find alternative forms of funding for these programmes and to ensure the survival of the Neurological Alliance would represent effective abandonment of people with neurological conditions.”

Mr Macey, who is also spokesman for the Irish Heart Foundation, said the impact on neurological charities and their service users was profound.

He said many organisations would lose staff and be forced to cut back on services such as advocacy and research, early intervention and frontline services.

A spokesman for the Department of Environment said the grant scheme was managed by Pobal, a not-for-profit organisation with charitable status.

The spokesman said all organisations with queries in relation to their application should make contact with Pobal immediately and there was an appeals process.

“This appeals process is now live, and it would not be appropriate to make any comment on the funding process or of the application of any individual organisation.”