Longford protest march aimed at saving St Christopher’s from closure

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Longford protest march aimed at saving St Christopher’s from closure
Scores of people are to take to the streets of Longford next week as concerns increase over the long term sustainability of St Christopher’s Services.

Scores of people are to take to the streets of Longford next week as concerns increase over the long term sustainability of St Christopher’s Services.

The demonstration, scheduled to take place next Friday (October 3), is expected to attract hundreds of protestors in what organisers have billed as a ‘protest march’.

Leaflets, outlining the times and route of the march, were handed into local businesses over the past few days.

They even go as far as to claim the Longford based service provider has been thrown into doubt because of ongoing financial problems.

Local businessman James Morgan held talks with various stakeholders along with members from the Longford Unite Project earlier this week.

“Already €500,000 in debt and with no sign of the HSE to step up to the mark, the facility faces the very real prospect of closure,” he warned.

“St Christopher’s provide an invaluable service for the most vulnerable in our society but it also provides 160 jobs and is worth almost €10m annually to the local economy.”

Last month, the Leader told of how continuous reductions to its budget had left management struggling to deal with a €450,000 deficit.

In the days and weeks since, local as well as national politicians have been quick to air their own misgivings over the situation.

At a recent county council meeting, local councillor and CEO of St Christopher’s Pat O’Toole warned of the potential long term ramifications that lay in wait unless HSE chiefs addressed the issue.

That was followed by a hard-hitting appraisal of Junior Minister Kathleen Lynch’s response to the crisis by Fianna Fail TD Robert Troy.

Next Friday’s march gets underway at 1.15pm from St Christopher’s headquarters along the Battery Road before finishing at the town’s Market Square half an hour later.

See Wednesday’s ‘Longford Leader’ for more.