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Pieta House finances examined by the HSE

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The HSE has been asked to examine finances at Pieta House after staff were told of layoffs and pay cuts at the suicide charity earlier this year.

Mental Health Minister Jim Daly has asked the HSE to keep him updated on an ongoing basis about matters at the charity, the Department of Health has confirmed.

Pieta chief executive Elaine Austin is due to meet health service officials to review its current financial position and services.

The HSE provides approximately 20pc of Pieta's overall funding, with the remaining money largely generated through fundraisers and the charity's popular annual 'Darkness Into Light' walk.

Earlier this year, workers at the charity were told of service cuts and a need to reduce staff numbers because of funding shortfalls.

A Late Late Show fundraiser generated €4m for Pieta last month, and it was confirmed the HSE would provide an extra €114,608 per month to the charity added to the €2m public funding it already receives. This is being reviewed on a monthly basis, the HSE said.

The most recent accounts for the charity filed last year showed the cost of organising 'Darkness Into Light' in 2018 increased by almost €900,000 compared with the previous year. Meanwhile, spending on salaries increased by €1m in the same period. A spokesman told the Sunday Independent the increased cost of hosting 'Darkness Into Light' 2018 could be attributed to it being a larger event, and increased staffing levels impacted salary costs.

Sunday Independent