Community welfare clinic in south Roscommon to close

‘It’s outrageous and scandalous’

The Department of Social Protection has announced that it will close its Community Welfare Service (CWS) clinic at Ballydangan, south Roscommon, next week – a decision that has been described as “scandalous”.

  At these clinics, community welfare officers can give financial support to those in need, in the form of rent supplement, supplementary welfare allowance or emergency payments, subject to means’ testing.

  A clinic had been held at Ballydangan, about ten miles from Athlone, every Tuesday morning, but, from next week, it will be shut.

  A spokesman for the Department said: “The Community Welfare Service had been delivered in Ballydangan from a HSE premises up to now.

  “Arising from a number of facilities being discontinued by the HSE in these premises since December, the Department of Social Protection has had to make alternative arrangements for its CWS customers at Ballydangan.

  “With effect from Tuesday, January 26, the CWS service for customers living at Ballydangan will be available in the Department’s Intreo Centre in Athlone.”

  The Department said that, on average, only five people were attending the Ballydangan clinic, but local councillor Tony Ward (Independent) has described the closure as “outrageous and scandalous”.

  “The Government have no compassion, no thought,” he said. “Everything is being pushed into the big towns. They have no respect for people who have no transport. There is no transport, of any shape or form, in that area.

  “You are sucking the life out of communities.”

  He said that it was yet another attack on rural Ireland.

  “When they closed about half of the community welfare offices in south Roscommon, they gave us a commitment that there would be no more offices closed, and now they close the one at Ballydangan,” he said.

  “It’s a disgrace. Everything that was put in place over the past 100 years has all been shredded in about two years or less: we have post offices, community welfare offices and Garda barracks closed.”