The HSE is considering whether mental health organisations could take on the Console service and staff as the crisis-hit group prepares to hold an emergency meeting with its employees today.
The move is being examined amid fears the scandal affecting the charity may result in its vital suicide-prevention services being wound up.
However, any move is in its early stages with no firm solution in mind, an issue that has led to Console’s interim chief executive, David Hall, lashing out at alleged State delays in addressing the controversy.
Despite initial suggestions of a meeting being held between Mr Hall, Health Minister Simon Harris, and the HSE today over the financial issues at the charity, no meeting has been arranged as yet.
While Mr Hall said yesterday morning that Console’s helpline, counselling, and outreach services are the most “important thing” and he is “confident” they will be protected, this positive view appeared to have waned last night over alleged delays in the State’s response to the controversy.
According to Mr Hall, it costs approximately €100,000 a month to run Console’s helpline, counselling, and outreach services.
It receives just €30,000 from the HSE as previously, the shortfall was made up from fundraising which has stopped in the past two weeks — a situation Mr Hall said must be addressed immediately if the charity’s services are to remain.
A HSE spokeswoman said it had not yet made any decisions regarding ongoing funding of the suicide prevention charity.
As regards whether the HSE would seek to spread the work of Console over a number of charities, she said: “ There obviously are a number of organisations who provide a range of mental health services and the HSE has service level agreements with some of these”.
The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement announced yesterday that a criminal investigation is to be launched into Console’s activities.
Mr Hall said it was “unhelpful” that the HSE has being saying publicly that it needs “firm assurances” its funds are being used properly.
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