Local TD Brian Stanley has slammed the government for the closure of Community Welfare Clinics throughout the county.
“The closure of this vital service in the following areas, Abbeyleix, Ballylinan, Clonaslee and Mountrath and the reduced hours for clinics held at Graiguecullen and Mountmellick is a disgrace,” Deputy Stanley said.
“The Community Welfare Officers have provided an important service in these centres to those on the lowest incomes. People who don’t have their own transport were able to attend the clinics held by the Community Welfare officers on a weekly basis and discuss their case if necessary, face to face with the officials. Now they are being told that they must travel to either Portlaoise, Graiguecullen, Mountmellick or Rathdowney and this is by appointment only.”
Deputy Stanley said the loss of these services is another example of the way the Fine Gael/Labour Government is abandoning rural Ireland and follows on from the closure of Garda Stations and rural post offices.
“I have demanded that the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, explain what savings and what benefits her department will accrue from these closures given the fact that the services were provided in existing government owned buildings,” he concluded.