Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Questions (911)

Declan Breathnach

Question:

911. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she is considering amalgamating her Department’s services in Dundalk, County Louth, which would involve the closure of one or possibly two local welfare offices; if her attention has been drawn to the hardship that such a decision would cause to service users that are elderly or that have mobility issues; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23827/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

My Department is constantly looking at ways to improve services and supports. Community Welfare Services in Dundalk are delivered across three locations, including the local Intreo Centre which also provides a one-stop-shop for the full range of income and employment support services. All of the offices are located within a close distance of each other.

Local management are currently finalising proposals to provide a more integrated and efficient Community Welfare Service to customers in the town, by eliminating any inconvenience in having to travel between locations, expanding opening hours and reducing the need for queuing. The co-location of the team would ensure that an official is always on hand to deal with emergency situations.

The proposal will not cause any additional hardship to service users that are elderly or have mobility issues. The purpose of the proposed move is, in fact, to improve the quality and accessibility of the service and minimise inconvenience to customers. As at present, arrangements will continue be made to conduct a home visit to any customer who has a difficulty visiting the office.