By Sarah Mac Donald - 20 December, 2013
Bishop Jones expresses regret as cuts to Family Support Agency grants blamed.
In a statement issued on Thursday evening, the Catholic Marriage Care Service said that by the end of 2014, ACCORD will have experienced a reduction of 42.4% in Government grant aid.
This represents a total funding loss since 2010 of €3,621,140.
This means that for ACCORD’s central office in Maynooth, the amount of grant aid from the Family Support Agency in 2014 will be reduced to approximately €700,000.
This grant pays overheads and salaries for nine full-time and five part-time staff on the central office payroll including four regional officers serving 37 ACCORD centres in the Republic of Ireland outside of Dublin.
President of ACCORD, Bishop Christopher Jones, said on Thursday, “We deeply regret that this dramatic reduction in Government grant aid has left us with no option but to make four of our staff redundant.”
He said in addition to the “regrettable job losses” the agency would also have to reduce one full-time position to a part-time post.
“Unfortunately, we have no alternative but to make these redundancies compulsory. Staff have been met and ACCORD is engaged in a process to finalise new arrangements, which will take effect in early February 2014,” he said.
Bishop Jones acknowledged that “Redundancies at any time are very difficult for all involved but particularly so at Christmas.”
He said ACCORD had done its best to keep job losses to a minimum while endeavouring to continue to meet the ever increasing demand on ACCORD’s marriage education and counselling services in “economically challenging times.”
Bishop Jones continued, “On behalf of all bishops, I acknowledge the vital work that ACCORD’s almost 800 committed members provide in supporting marriage and family life in Ireland.”
“At this time in particular I wish to thank those who have given such generous service in ACCORD central office and who will now be directly affected by these regrettable job losses.”
ACCORD was established by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference in 1962. It aims to promote a deeper understanding of Christian marriage and to offer people the means to “safeguard and nourish their marriage and family relationships.”
There are almost 800 professionally trained members involved in ACCORD’s work in 57 centres across the 26 dioceses on the island of Ireland.
The Family Support Agency is the major source of funding for ACCORD in the Republic of Ireland.
ACCORD also operates with the support of the Health Service Executive (RoI) and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (NI) and various Trusts in Northern Ireland.
In addition ACCORD central office receives support from the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference. Local ACCORD centres receive support from their diocese.