Independent Councillor Shane P O’Reilly.

Social Protection vacancies filled

Vacant community welfare officer posts in Cavan have now been filled according to the Department of Social Protection. Concerns about the impact of the vacancies were raised earlier this month at a meeting of the Ballyjamesduff Municipal District. The retirement of two staff had led to the posts becoming vacant and people being referred instead to the Cavan Town office.

Independent Councillor Shane P O’Reilly was highly critical of the Department over its handling of the situation: “We are not being served in this area at all”, he said.

“It’s causing untold trouble for people who need the Community Welfare Service.”

Councillors called for the Department to step up and replace the former staff, with local TD and Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys urged to rectify the situation. Cathaoirleach Trevor Smith (FG) agreed with the points raised and supported the calls for action within the Department. In a statement to this newspaper, the Department of Social Protection has now said the vacancies have been filled.

“Both vacancies arising from recent retirements in County Cavan CWS have been filled.”

Councillors had also criticised delays being experienced by people attempting to access the supplementary welfare allowance scheme, which is delivered through the Community Welfare Service.

The Department says these issues have also been rectified: “There are currently no difficulties accessing the service and customers are not experiencing any delays in making appointments. The situation is kept under constant review to ensure that this vital service continues to be readily accessible by those who need it, including over the Christmas period.”