Cork South-Central TD and Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin has said he is extremely disappointed that the closure of the Local Employment Service in Mahon has gone ahead.
Deputy Martin said: “It is disgraceful that this service has had to close its doors. This is a really important, community-centred public service that has been doing a good job that still needs to be done.
“Cork City Council has had a special debate on this closure as a result of Fianna Fáil action at the council and this decision should really be looked at again. Cork City Partnerships provides a range of services and the local employment service in Mahon is one of the main programmes, it is a huge loss.
“The reality is we’re losing too many community public services. More and more is being lost and it’s being driven by a Government policy that does not value communities or public services. Towns like Mahon need to be supported with services available on the ground for people.
“We already have a situation where the vital work of Community Welfare Officers is being undermined. The CWOs are now being regarded as Welfare Officers and instead of being based out in communities they will work from a central location. Removing these crucial face-to-face ties undermines the sense of community in our towns.
“I believe this is being driven by the Government’s own agenda. Nationally and locally the sense from Fine Gael in particular is that public services are not something to be valued or invested in. That’s just wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth. I want to invest in public services. I want a Government that values communities like Mahon and will protect the role of the Local Employment Service and other schemes that we need operating on the ground. I don’t believe it’s too late to revisit this decision and I think it should be done as a matter of priority.”