Labour Cllr calls for an urgent meeting with Minister to halt closures of Citizens Information CentresPadraig Conlon 11 Nov 2022
At Dublin City Council’s South East Local Area Committee next Monday, November 14, Cllr Mary Freehill will propose a motion calling for a meeting of the committee with the Minister Heather Humphreys to inform her of the serious consequences of the disappearance of so many face-to-face Citizens Information Centres throughout the country.
“The Minister for Social Protection must use her influence to reverse the Citizens Information Board’s decision to close the very busy Rathmines Citizens Information Service (CIS),” Cllr Freehill said.
“The closure went ahead despite this committee’s efforts, along with other local groups, by contacting the Citizens Information Board to keep it open.
“This service has been present in Rathmines for the past 46 years. The consequence of this is the loss of outreach service to St Vincent’s Hospital, Elm Park and Hospice in Harold’s Cross.
“The drop in the CIS state service nationally is a serious breach of citizens’ rights and the mission of the Citizens Information Board. It impacts on people who need help to access and explain information along with form filling, people who do not have access to IT, older people and people who have poor language competency.
“This problem is further exacerbated by the diminished drop in service from 5 days to 3 days per week, and by prior appointment only in Crumlin Sundrive Road Centre, the closure of the very busy CIS in Tallaght Shopping Centre and City Centre O’Connell Street premises. The national CIS phone service now has a very long wait time to access their service.
“In a report prepared by the Department of Social Protection, “Periodic Critical Review of the Citizens Information Board May 2022”, it is said that there was a 46% decline in the use of in-person Citizens Information services between 2019 and 2021. This statistic seriously distorts reality as all CIS centres were closed for the vast amount of this period because of COVID-19.
“This committee would welcome an opportunity to meet with the Minister to outline the impact the loss of this face to face state service is having on vulnerable people and to express serious concerns at the way it is being run down.”