Thursday, 1 April 2010
Social Welfare Benefits
Brendan Ryan (Labour)
I thank the Minister of State for his response. As with previous responses on this matter, I note the general comments on the activities of the service. However, the matter at issue is whether a replacement local service will be provided in Balbriggan in the short term for the many people who have to travel to Gardiner Street. The Minister of State's response indicates the HSE and the Department are actively seeking premises in Balbriggan. New accommodation for social services there is scheduled to come on stream this year. It has been agreed that both the HSE and the community welfare service will be accommodated in the new facility. I know the Department is actively seeking and has procured a lease for premises from which to provide its services in Balbriggan. This will not be sufficient in the context of meeting the needs that exist and it will not be possible to provide adequate social welfare services. I have made proposals to those involved, which they are considering. I hope they will arrive at a resolution to this problem.
The Minister of State's reply suggests that the community welfare service may in some way be integrated with the Department of Social and Family Affairs. I know this is not the case. The information available to me suggests that a solo run is being done in this instance. There is no indication that a building out of which both entities might provide services is being sought. As stated earlier, it will not be possible for community welfare officers to provide a full service unless matters are dealt with differently.
I note the Minister of State's reply but the information it contains does not tally with that which is available to me. I wonder whether there might be some way to obtain information on what is really happening in respect of this matter. I do not believe the contents of the Minister of State's script reflect the reality of the position. It is my understanding the position is different to that which he outlined.