RYAN CALLS FOR EXPLANATION OF RENT SUPPLEMENT CHANGES IN THE DÁIL
Labour Party TD for Dublin North Brendan Ryan raised
a debate in Dáil Eireann calling for an explanation as to why the provision of Rent Supplement in areas in North Dublin such
as Swords and Balbriggan have been removed from Community Welfare Officers in those areas to a central facility in Santry.
“This has resulted in the removal of yet another localised service from some of the most vulnerable in our society.
Previously new Rent Supplement Applications were handled by Community Welfare Officers. Applicants could meet a CWO in person,
discuss their situation and in response, the applicant would get instant advice and help.
“I find it incredulous that this service has been removed from Community Welfare Officers. CWOs provided face to
face contact for those people who need this allowance. They can offer both advice and counsel but most importantly decisions
were made in a very short space of time: usually within one week.
“With this new system, there are delays of up
to 5-6 weeks whereby people are left in an anxious limbo waiting on a decision. We all deal with emergency cases where people
are in need of a quick decision regarding their rent supplement.
“I have asked for the decision to be reversed with immediate effect and as a bare minimum I ask for emergency cases
to be dealt with at a local level at the discretion of the CWO."
In response to Deputy Ryan’s motion, the Minister
for Social Protection refused to reverse the decision to centralise applications but did promise to prioritise the improvement
of services in the centralised unit.