Crisis pregnancy service Cura is to close seven provincial centres and redeploy many of its volunteers to four city-based hubs.

In a statement, the Catholic Communications Office announced that its centres in Limerick, Tralee, Ennis, Thurles, Kilkenny, Wexford and Athlone will close over the next few months.

It says all Cura services, including drop-in facilities, will now be delivered through four main hubs in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Waterford where the organisation has "identified an ongoing demand for drop-in face-to-face services". 

Three outreach centres will be maintained in Sligo and Tallaght and in a merged Dundalk-Monaghan operation.

A bishops’ spokesperson said the equivalent of slightly more than one full-time post would be lost because seven centres would no longer be using the services of part-time secretaries each of whom have been working between four and eight hours a week.

Cura's President, Bishop Éamonn Walsh, said the changes were the result of a strategic review to evaluate how best to meet the clients' needs to access services in an environment which had changed greatly since 1977 when the organisation was established.

Cura's National Coordinator Louise Graham, said it is committed to ensuring "immediate access to services". 

"In today's world, this means an increased focus on telephone and online presence," she continued. 

She said last year 79% of its clients were under 35, prompting the review to focus on trends in clients' methods of accessing services and on the take-up of services.