New St Christopher's Services CEO vows to uphold service retention at Longford facility

Liam Cosgrove

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Liam Cosgrove

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liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

St Christopher's CEO

St. Christophers Chairman Jim Tynan, Secretary Rose Kane, Senator John Donlan CEO of Disability Federation of Ireland and CEO of St. Christophers Derek Scanlon. Photo: Michelle Ghee.

The head of St Christopher’s Services in Longford town has rubbished any lingering unease over its future sustainability despite continued financial demands to make ends meet.

Derek Scanlon was speaking at his first annual general meeting as chief executive of the Battery Road provider since taking over from predecessor Pat O’Toole in the summer.

He told a hushed audience inside the Sylvia Dawson Hall last Tuesday (November 14) that while monetary dilemmas remain, the service was working with the HSE to address these.

“It will come as no surprise to anyone in this room tonight that the Service faces significant funding challenges and has done so for a number of years,” he said.

“Since my appointment in August, we have worked collaboratively with the HSE to ensure that the services that we provide are maintained.

“I am adamant and confident that there will be no impact on our current services as we navigate through these financial difficulties.”

Mr Scanlon who, until recently, held down the mantle of Longford Chamber of Commerce President, took time to register his delight at being named St Christopher’s CEO.

He said one of his key targets was the need to increase the level of respite services at the facility in order to meet ever increasing demand.

That said, Mr Scanlon conceded both he and those tasked with upholding St Christopher’s fortunes might have to reassess how its future overheads are managed.

“We (St Christopher’s) continue to work with the HSE to create a sustainable financial future for the services and, while this will undoubtedly mean that we will have to change how we think and look at our organisation and our cost base, I will be firm in ensuring that our services are not reduced,” he stressed.

“This year again we need to highlight the under provision of respite services.

“We are particularly conscious that there are people waiting to access our respite services that have significant needs and who otherwise might not be in a position to access any services within the community.”

A certified mediator and personal insolvency expert, Mr Scanlon was just as conscious to single out how staff were managing to provide day services to over 150 people and residential services care for 40 people on a full-time basis.

There were warm words too for St Christopher’s senior management team, its board of directors headed by chairman James Morgan and to all those who fundraise on behalf of the Longford facility.

“Without all of your input and generosity there are many services that we would have to forego,” he said.

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