BY SEÁN P. FEENY
MAJOR changes in community welfare clinics being provided in West and South West Donegal have sparked real concern amongst members of the public.
On Arranmore the community welfare clinic has been reduced to once a month, from twice a month, commencing immediately.
The island is being dealt an additional blow as the Department of Social Protection has also cut clinics from Burtonport, since March 5.
The Higher Executive Officer (HEO), formerly known as Community Welfare Officer, is based in Dungloe, but travels to other areas on different weekdays.
From the islanders’ perspective this means that they will at minimum have to pay for a return ferry trip and then organise transportation to either Dungloe (Monday, 11 to 1pm), Falcarragh (Wednesday,10 to 12noon), Stranacorkra (Thursday, 10 -12noon) or Annagry (Thursday, 2 – 3pm) if they wish to see him/her outside of their monthly clinic (every fourth Friday).
There are 21 HEOs currently employed in Donegal, but three officers have recently retired who have not been replaced and other areas will also no longer have a HEO in attendance. As well as Burtonport, Brinaleck and Doochary also no longer have a HEO in attendance since March 5.