Bishop says lack of funding threatens Dundalk addiction support centre

Support network provided assistance to more than 250 families in region last year

Bishop Michael Router said national media coverage highlighted the serious intimidating behaviour connected to  ongoing drugs related criminal activity in the Border area.

Bishop Michael Router said national media coverage highlighted the serious intimidating behaviour connected to ongoing drugs related criminal activity in the Border area.

 

A Catholic bishop is seeking an urgent meeting with Minister of State Frank Feighan over ongoing funding at a centre in Dundalk which helps families traumatised by addiction. Mr Feighan is Minister for Public Health, Well Being and National Drugs Strategy.

Bishop Michael Router said it was hard to believe that funding difficulties facing the Family Addiction Support Network (Fasn) in Dundalk, founded 20 years ago to support families traumatised by addiction, was “threatening its continued existence”.

Auxiliary Bishop of Armagh, and patron of the Fasn in Dundalk, he said this was particularly the case now, as “national media coverage highlighted the serious intimidating behaviour connected to the ongoing drugs related criminal activity in the Border area.”

He was “seeking an urgent meeting” with Mr Feighan “to seek assistance to keep Fasn operating into the future.”

The value of Fasn “to our local community has been clearly identified by the State,” he said, yet last October, when it applied for funding to keep its level of service going, it received “just a fraction of what it needed to run projects across the North East”.

The projects were “vital at this time, providing significant support to families facing all the stresses and strains that addiction brings including the horrifying problem of drug-debt intimidation,” he said.

He had “seen at first hand the great work that the organisation undertakes, but I have also witnessed the negative impact that the lack of funding is having on its very dedicated personnel”.

Last year, for instance, “Fasn staff helped over 250 families in the region. Without question, it will be devastating for such families if its service is forced to close,” he said.

He appealed to the Government for “funding to help deliver its vital services for the wellbeing of our community”.