Connaughton highlights need for suitable location for addiction counselling service

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The need for a suitable venue for addiction counselling services in Galway was highlighted this week by local TD Paul Connaughton.

‘Recently, extensive damage was caused by fire at the Community Alcohol/Addiction Counselling Service in Merlin Park and proposals are now being put forward to relocate the service into the secure unit of the Department of Psychiatry, which is totally unsuited to the provision of such a service.

‘Service users, GPs and counsellors are all agreed that siting addiction counselling services in a secure building which was purpose built for disturbed service users is completely unsuitable and a severely retrograde step.

‘These services need to be provided at Merlin Park, which has the parking and ease of access that is necessary for the provision of such a service in the 21st century.  Privacy and confidentiality are key elements in the successful provision of addiction counselling services and the success of the service provided in Merlin Park to date is evidenced by the fact that the level of women accessing the service is greatly above the national average.  Given the huge efforts that are being made to combat dangerous levels of drinking among the wider population and also to deal with addiction problems through addiction counselling, it is imperative that the elements of this service that have made it so successful to date are retained.

‘The fire at the counselling service, which was extensive, must not result in a greatly diminished service being provided to the many families in County Galway who are benefiting and who can benefit greatly from addiction counselling.

‘I have raised this with the HSE at regional level and have sought a meeting on the issue as soon as possible and will continue to pursue this issue vigorously because I believe that a proper venue is absolutely critical to the provision of successful addiction counselling services.’