- FF motion will halt the restructuring process of both advice services -
Local Fianna Fáil TD, Darragh O’Brien has said that the Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar must put a stop to the restructuring process currently underway in the Money Advice and Budgeting Service and the Citizens Information Service in Dublin Fingal, to ensure that staff and volunteers have their concerns heard. Commenting ahead of tonight’s Dáil debate on the motion Deputy O’Brien said, “With a shortage of housing in the Capital, first time-buyers’ looked to Dublin North as a commuter belt to purchase homes at accelerated prices during boom time. Since the downturn, many have faced financial hardship and even home repossession.
“These people in particular require the support of the crucial services provided locally
by both CIS and MABS, to manage their debt by providing information, advice and advocacy.
“There is much scope to deliver greater efficiencies and effectiveness in both organisations and I am not opposed to change and reform where necessary. However, I am troubled by the very real concerns that that have been shared by staff and volunteers regarding the potential implications of the restructuring of MABS and CIS into a regional model.
“Volunteerism is at the core of the services offered by MABS and CIS and is embedded at a grassroots level within our community. There is significant local concern that the restructuring model will disenfranchise volunteers in Fingal. If those driving this restructuring had engaged meaningfully with staff and volunteers before they began the process. “There is a theory circulating which has yet to be proved with hard evidence that merging services will lead to reduce costs and greater efficiencies. A cost-benefit analysis of the proposed regional model must be conducted before any changes go ahead. It is most important that there is local and not centralised control over the provision of these services.
“Fianna Fáil is calling on the Minister for Social Protection to immediately utilise the power he has under the Citizens Information Act of 2007 to issue a directive to halt this proposed regionalisation. “We must listen to those who have real first-hand experience of the services and heed the strong reservations that they have shared regarding this restructuring process. “All stakeholders involved should be consulted and allowed to meaningfully engage in dialogue to secure an outcome that is fair to all,” concluded O’Brien.