Fine Gael TD for Dublin North Alan Farrell can confirm today (Monday) that Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has requested that extra social welfare services be made available in Balbriggan.
“People from Dublin North looking to claim supplementary allowance are currently required to go into the office of the Arrears Support Unit on Gardiner Street to process their application. For this reason I called on the Minister for Social Protection to explain why people who are already stretched to capacity are required to travel 30kms into the city centre at a cost of €7 return on Dublin Bus.
“The Minister has accordingly requested that the Office of Public Works acquire alternative and more suitable accommodation in Balbriggan to provide this service.
“I am pleased that the Minister agrees that it is too difficult for people in need of welfare to travel so far to acquire their payments, and has confirmed her intention to have this relocated once a suitable accommodation is available.
“Application and approval can sometimes be a complicated process with the need to provide various documentation and it is essential that community welfare offices are located nearby to make this process easier and accessible.
“In the meantime, those in receipt of the payment can apply for funds to be posted to their home or post office, or to be lodged into their accounts to reduce the need for frequent visits to the centre.
“These are very difficult times and some people are relying on every cent to get through the week. The Department of Social Protection are undergoing significant changes to improve services for people who need its help and I intend to pursue this request with the OPW in the coming months.”