Vulnerable Social Welfare Recipients Left Out in the Cold in central Dublin

1 March 2018

Statement by Joe Costello

Labour representative for Dublin Central, Joe Costello has criticised the failure of the Department of Social Protection to inform citizens of where to recieve their social weflare payments today.

Mr Costello said:

"The Department of Social Protection are very remiss in closing their Intreo offices in central Dublin from Wednesday the 28th February and not opening until Monday, 5th March without an adequate communications strategy for informing their clientele.

"The offices dispense supplementary welfare allowance to a large number of vulnerable recipients.

"This morning when people arrived to receive their payments at the Parnell Street office, the office was shut with a sign saying: “Closed until Monday due to adverse weather conditions.” There was no number to ring nor other directions. I understand that a similar sign was posted in the other Intreo centres.

"The Department of Social Protection had in, fact, made provision to deal with Thursday and Friday payments by having a Clinic open in North Cumberland St, Dublin 1, until 1pm on Thursday. But the Communications’ Unit hadn’t bothered communicating that crucial piece of information to the people who arrived at the Intreo centres.

"It was posted on the Department’s website but how many desperate people were going to think of checking the website in time or at all. Instructions should have been clearly, posted on all the Intreo office doors.

"Now it is too late do anything as all government offices and, indeed, post offices are closed on Friday and won’t open until Monday.

"To leave hard-pressed families and individuals without their emergency needs payments is totally unacceptable.

"It makes a mockery of the Government’s expensive and much- vaunted Communications system and of the Government’s exhortation to the rest of us to watch out for vulnerable neighbours in this dire weather."