TDATF feels like it is ‘playing a game of cat and mouse’

By Aideen O'Flaherty

THE Tallaght Drugs and Alcohol Task Force (TDATF) feels like it is “playing a game of cat and mouse” in trying to secure additional funding, after they received confirmation from the HSE that their funding levels for 2021 will remain the same as last year.

The issue was raised at a recent meeting of the Dublin Mid-Leinster Regional Health Forum, where the HSE stated that the task force would receive funding of €908,930 – the same level that they received in 2020.

Grace Hill 4 1

Grace Hill, co-ordinator of TDATF

The funding is spread out across a number of TDATF’s projects, including the Brookfield Addiction Support Programme, SWAN Family Support, JADD, and St Dominic’s Community Response projects.

Grace Hill, coordinator of TDATF, said the task force had a virtual meeting with the Minister for National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan TD, in November, but that it didn’t have the outcome they had hoped for.

“The meeting didn’t result in what we wanted,” Ms Hill told The Echo. “We had the meeting just to highlight where we’re at, but we kind of felt like we were talking to a wall.”

There has been increased demand on the task force’s services throughout the pandemic, in particular on their projects that focus on crack cocaine addiction, and this demand has been exacerbated by low staffing levels, according to Ms Hill.

“We’ve been highlighting issues like crack cocaine addiction and polydrug use, and how it’s destroying communities and people’s lives, but we don’t feel like we’re being listened to,” she added.

Two of the task force’s projects, JADD and CARP, have been responding to the issue with crack cocaine use in the area, but they said the funding they receive for this work “is not sustainable or adequate”.

“The number one issue is crack cocaine use and we highlighted the fact that 2021 is not looking good for our services in terms of what we’re trying to do,” explained Ms Hill.

“What we want, overall, is to be able to fund our projects to the degree that they need to be funded.

“It sounds terrible, but I think we need to create a gap to show people what’s not being done – because we’re too good at meeting every need.

“The danger with doing that is that people could be left without support, but we never want to leave people without that.”

Ms Hill described how many staff are at risk of burnout due to trying to keep the services running to meet the needs of service users, but she added this isn’t sustainable in the long-term.

“When we try to get more funding, we’re sent from one [government] department to another,” she said. “This is not benefitting the service users on the ground, and it’s very disheartening.

“It feels like a game of cat and mouse.”

Last November, Minister Feighan announced the provision of once-off funding for drug and alcohol services to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, and the TDATF received the highest level of once-off funding, totalling €20,000.

“The €20,000 was split evenly across seven of our projects and helped to pay for PPE and cleaning,” explained Ms Hill.

“We do appreciate the funding, but it’s not addressing the ongoing issue with funding for our services.

“We don’t have enough staff to respond to the issues with addiction in the area.”

A government spokesperson was contacted for comment, but a response was not received in time for print.

By subscribing to The Echo you are supporting your local newspaper Click Here: Echo Online.

Prev ‘If I could just start the year off positive’
Next Citywest Hotel gets the green light for 224-unit apartments
  • Bus with no passengers or driver ends up in bush in Square Shopping Centre
  • Isaac from Kilnamanagh was presented with a Garda hat from the Community Policing Unit in Tallaght
  • Ducks spotted skating in Tymon Park
  • Exchange Hall fire
  • Thanks for all of your support this year

We use cookies to improve your experience on our site, personalise content, provide social media features, analyse our traffic, show you relevant advertising and to target and report on ads. By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies that may process personal data for these purposes.