SINN Féin Finance Deputy Pearse Doherty has criticised a decision by the Department of Social Protection to suspend weekly clinics held in Falcarragh as part of Community Welfare Services and has branded the move as ‘yet another blow’ to the local community.
Deputy Doherty’s comments come following confirmation received today (Wednesday) from area management that following a ‘re-balancing’ of resources across the department’s range of activities, that a decision has been taken to rationalise services resulting in weekly clinics in Falcarragh being merged with clinics currently held in Dunfanaghy Intreo Offices.
Condemning the announcement, Deputy Doherty said: “This news is yet another blow to the community here in Falcarragh which, similar to other rural towns in West Donegal, has seen a steady decline in the number of services provided for locally. “Community Welfare Services are extremely important, particularly to people living rural areas which depend greatly on the welfare allowances and services administered through its offices. “In fact, weekly clinics held by Community Welfare Officers are often a real lifeline for vulnerable people as it’s through attending these clinics that service users can then have their individual needs assessed, or sometimes be referred on to other state agencies and voluntary organisations depending on the client’s needs, whether that’s for additional welfare supports or perhaps money and budgeting advice.
“I’ve been informed that the public will be notified of these changes through advertisements which will be displayed in the local Intreo offices in both Dunfanaghy and Falcarragh while a similar notice will also be placed in the local post office and citizen information centres. “I now intend to raise this matter with the Minister as any reduction to important local services, such as this decision to remove these clinics from Falcarragh, must be resisted.”