Welfare office plan is ditched

by Ian Begley

THE Department of Social Protection has abandoned its plans to establish a social welfare office in Lucan, despite a three-year search.
The Office of Public Works has been exploring options in Lucan and Adamstown for an Intreo Centre since 2012, but has failed to find a suitable space due to the “limited choice of suitably sized and located offices”.
Intreo is a service of the Department of Social Protection, which acts as a single point of contact for all employment and income supports.
Clients from Adamstown and Lucan sign in the Clondalkin Intreo Centre. They also travel to Clondalkin for community welfare services.
However, the introduction of an email, postal and phone service lessens the need for customers to travel to Clondalkin.
A call out/home visit service is also available for customers who are unable to travel.
A spokesperson from the Department told the Gazette that Clondalkin was believed capable of serving the population catchment of the Lucan-Adamstown area.
“In light of the difficulty in identifying a suitable site/building and in light of the completion earlier in the year of the Clondalkin Intreo Centre, which included an extension into the adjoining and former Motor Tax Office, the need for a new office in the Lucan-Adamstown area was re-examined.
“The Department now believes that the scale of the operation in Clondalkin is capable of serving the population catchment of the Lucan-Adamstown area.
“The Department has no plans for an Intreo Centre in Lucan-Adamstown at the present time but the service will be monitored on an ongoing basis to ensure that any negative impact on customers is minimised.”
Lucan Cllr Ed O’Brien (FF) reacted angrily to the news. He said: “This is an outrageous burden to place on the recipients of welfare. I have recently dealt with two residents of Lucan, who had no choice but to walk to Clondalkin from Lucan in order to claim their welfare.
“The Department has obviously given no thought to the fact there is no public transport link between Lucan and Clondalkin, a point which I have continually highlighted.
“To suggest that just because the Clondalkin office has the capacity to deal with residents of Lucan does not make it acceptable for the Department to put up what is potentially a barrier to residents claiming welfare payments they are entitled to.”
Dublin Mid-West election candidate John Curran (FF) also reacted angrily to the news: “This is a very disappointing development for the people of Lucan and Adamstown, who must frequently travel to the Clondalkin office to sign on and avail of other welfare services.
“As part of the plan for the roll-out of Intreo centres, the Lucan-Adamstown areas were originally designated by the Department for the provision of Intreo services in Dublin Mid-West, which I very much welcomed and supported in 2011 when I was in Government.
“People with young babies, carers, the elderly and people with disabilities should not be expected to travel so frequently for their welfare services.”

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