atest press release from Jennifer Whitmore TD, issued on Friday, May 20th 2022…
With Eamonn Burgess
Social Democrats TD for Wicklow, Jennifer Whitmore has expressed her serious concerns regarding the future of the Citizens Information Service across the county, as it becomes apparent that recent changes by the national Citizens Information Board will result in office closures across the service.
Deputy Whitmore has been informed that volunteers may no longer be used as part of the service.
Speaking on the issue, Deputy Whitmore says, “I met with Eamonn Burgess, a volunteer on the South Leinster Regional Board, to discuss concerns around structural changes that are already having huge implications on the service in Wicklow. Not only has funding not been granted to open up a service in Wicklow Town, it now seems that they have been told volunteers are no longer to be used.
“The mind boggles how this can be the case, as volunteers have been at the heart of the service. Wicklow is now reduced to only 2.5 full time paid staff to cover the entire county with only Arklow and Bray offices currently open. Furthermore, outreach services have also been closed down as they are primarily run by volunteers, which means Baltinglass and Laragh will no longer have these services. The office in Wicklow town has already been closed further reducing access to the service for residents in Wicklow.
“Demand is only increasing for reliable information provided by these offices. With rising inflation, fuel prices and more Ukrainian refugees in need of advice, we need to be expanding this service rather than reducing it. There is no way we can have a viable service in Wicklow if we move away from a volunteer model.
“It flies in the face of National Volunteer Strategy, and I will be contacting the Minister, the CIB and the Chairs of the Regional Boards to get some answers to the many questions about the current strategy and the future of the service.”
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