The chief executive officer of Pieta House was in Donegal on Friday to affirm the organisation’s commitment to providing services for Donegal and the north west.
“We are still 100 per cent committed to establishing Pieta House services in the north west,” Brian Higgins, CEO of Pieta House, said.
Danny Devlin of Action for Hope, the group raising funds locally for the north-west service, called the announcement, "very positive news for the people of the north west”.
Mr. Higgins said the support Pieta House has received from Donegal and Action for Hope has been “huge”.
Pieta House provides free services for the prevention of self-harm or suicide. Since opening its doors 10 years ago, the organisation has opened nine centres around the country.
In recent years, Donegal communities have hosted Darkness Into Light sunrise fundraising walks/runs to raise money for Pieta House.
Mr. Higgins said Pieta House this year will roll out its resilience programme in Donegal, which works with people to build their strength and resilience.
The CEO said the organisation’s therapy services bring people from a place of crisis to a place of calm. The resilience programme is designed to reach people before they are in crisis, he said.
He said Pieta House plans to open a centre to serve the north west next year at a location to be determined. Mr. Higgins said they will be looking for a central, accessible site, and said the centre could be located in Donegal.
Mr. Higgins also thanked the Donegal committee and county fundraisers for their work and support.
Action for Hope raises awareness and promotes funding for establishment of a Pieta House in the north west, and Mr. Devlin said there is a ring-fenced bank account to fund the north-west service. There is also information on fundraising at the Action for Hope Facebook page.
He said Donegal people have not had easy access to the facilities of Pieta House, whose closest centres to Donegal are in Galway and Dublin. “There are no borders in relation to the service,” Mr. Devlin said. “It is open to everyone, far and wide.”
“So Pieta now have informed us that they intend to start a therapeutical service in 2017, which is just next year,” Mr. Devlin said. “I’m absolutely delighted with the announcement.”
It costs about €350,000 to run a Pieta House centre for a year, but Mr. Higgins said the onus for funding a north-west centre would not fall solely on Donegal.