Written Answers. - Social Welfare Branch Offices.

Rory O'Hanlon

Question:

536 Dr. O'Hanlon asked the Minister for Social Welfare the plans, if any, he has for rationalisation and development of social welfare branch offices in counties Cavan and Monaghan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16274/96]

Dermot Ahern

Question:

538 Mr. D. Ahern asked the Minister for Social Welfare whether a further meeting has been arranged between the Social Welfare Office Branch Managers' Association and his Department to consider the future of local social welfare offices around the country; if so, the outcome of such a meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16412/96]

It is proposed to take Questions Nos. 536 and 538 together.

No decision has yet been taken with regard to the future of the branch offices. Any such decision will be fully discussed with the branch managers who are represented in negotiations with the Department by the branch managers' association under the terms of the conciliation and arbitration scheme which covers them.

At my request, officials from the Department met with representatives of the branch managers' association at the end of May and are currently examining the various issues raised at this meeting. It is hoped to be in a position to begin negotiations with the association on the future of the branch offices in the near future.