LABOUR TD Emmet Stagg has demanded that a Community Welfare public office be opened in Naas. He recalled it was intended to open an office the Sarto Road Health Centre when it was vacated by Public Health Nursing staff in late 2010. This move fell through in early 2011. Minister Joan Burton has told Dep. Stagg that options for a dedicated building have been explored over the last 18 months but none have come to fruition. The situation is “under review” and will be considered further having regard to the integration of the Social Welfare, Community Welfare and FAS services. Deputy Stagg welcomed the fact a public office remains an objective of the Department. Deputy Stagg stated that people seeking assistance with mortgage payments, rental payments, exceptional needs payments or supplementary welfare payments, have to use a postal based or freephone service to access their entitlements.
“This is an impersonal way to transact business when you need support even though the Local Community Welfare Officers did follow up home visits. In addition to the fact that no public office was available, the officers are operating under immense pressure because of numbers are seeking assistance due to the recession.