Written answers

Thursday, 3 February 2022

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Community Welfare Services

Photo of Aindrias MoynihanAindrias Moynihan (Cork North West, Fianna Fail)
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103. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans for the resumption of in-person meetings with local community welfare officers in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5423/22]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The Community Welfare Service of my Department delivers the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme which is the safety net within the overall social welfare system. This scheme provides assistance to eligible people in the State whose means are insufficient to meet their needs and those of their dependents.

Intreo Centres and Social Welfare Branch Offices in Cork City and County are open five days per week. Business hours are reverting to pre-Covid hours in the coming weeks and by end of February will be 9.15am to 5pm Monday to Wednesday, 10.30am to 5pm on Thursdays (to allow for staff training) and 9.15 to 4.30pm on Fridays. Any person who needs to contact or access the Community Welfare Service can do so by telephone, email or by attending at an office to speak directly to a Community Welfare Officer (CWO). It is important to note that as part of my continued commitment to improve the Community Welfare Service in County Cork and across the country, customers no longer have to meet in person with a CWO to make a claim. Consultations with a CWO are available via phone, at our offices and if the need arises a direct home visit appointment can be arranged depending on the customer’s need and public health restrictions. All applications for assistance are dealt with promptly by my officials.

This change is a significant enhancement to the service offered to customers as it means that those who require community welfare assistance no longer need to visit an outreach location or wait to make a claim or wait to access the service. These initiatives that I have put in place continue to ensure that the service is easily accessible and responsive to customer needs, particularly in a time of crisis or emergency.

I trust this clarifies the matter.


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