A new electronic system for people signing on at Portarlington Social Welfare Office has resulted in long queues stretching right down the street.
Airport-style roped queues have been introduced in the office in an attempt to prevent spillage onto the street, but it could be at least another week before the situation is resolved.
Sinn Féin councillor Aidan Mullins has been informed that the long queues which recently formed outside the welfare office should end in or around July 15.
“Following complaints from local people I called in to the Social Welfare Office in Portarlington on Tuesday, July 1, as there was a long queue forming outside the office along Main Street,” said Cllr Mullins.
“I counted 65 people in the queue. The local branch manager informed me that they are currently introducing a new electronic system for those signing on and processing this is causing delays at the counter. To help alleviate this they will introduce roped queues inside the office, as seen in airports etc, to remove people off the street.”
The local Sinn Féin councillor said he had contacted the Department of Social Protection area manager in Tullamore who confirmed that all claimants are being entered on a new electronic system at the moment which is causing the delays.
“Once implemented, the system will be much more efficient. The last of those to be entered on the system will be processed next Tuesday week, July 15, after which there should be no further delays or queues. Under the new signing system each person will just swipe their card and sign an electronic signature which should only take less than a minute,” said Cllr Mullins.
“The area manager undertook to monitor the queues in two weeks when the system is fully up and running and if people are still queueing he will look at implementing extra signing days. I will be keeping a close watch on this and will keep in contact with the area manager in Tullamore to ensure this happens,” Cllr Mullins concluded.