Fianna Fáil’s Health Spokesperson, Billy Kelleher TD has said that any downgrade of Section 39 agencies must not result in the downgrade or removal of services to people.

“Yesterday’s Oireachtas Committee on Health heard from the Charities Regulator that 19% of charities have yet to fully comply with the Charity Act regulations. If they continue to not comply, they will lose their charitable status, putting their ability to fundraise, and provide essential services at risk. The regulator suggested that 47 charities are at risk of downgrade,” said Kelleher.

“We need any agency in receipt of state funds to be fully compliant with legislation, and be 100% transparent. However, we cannot allow service users to suffer.”

“Section 39 agencies provide much needed services to highly vulnerable people, and we cannot allow services to end.”

“The HSE need to have contingency plans in place in the event that any agency loses their ability to provide services on behalf of the state. We cannot have a situation where people are left without care and support,” added Kelleher.

“Longer term, we need to look at the number of Section 39 agencies that the HSE is using to provide services that could be provided by the state directly,” added Kelleher.

“The Charity Regulator is doing his job by ensuring the highest levels of scrutiny and oversight. The HSE need to now do their job, and ensure that no one is left without care or support,” concluded Kelleher.