Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection Willie O’Dea TD has said that Minister Doherty cannot continue to bury her head in the sand and ignore the clear opposition to the proposed restructuring of the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) and the Citizens Information Service (CIS).
“The restructuring process has already caused a great deal of upset and concern for many of the staff and volunteers who deliver these vital services.
“The failure of former Minister, Leo Varadkar and new Minister, Regina Doherty to call a halt to these changes is staggering and does nothing to convince me that this is nothing more than a consolidation of power by the Department itself.
“Staff and volunteers in the local MABS and CIS centres are at one when it comes to their belief that the proposed model will ruin the ethos of both organisations.
“Volunteerism is the cornerstone of both MABS and CIS. The proposed changes would ruin this and completely disenfranchise the volunteers who have kept both organisations going in good times and in bad.
“Ignoring the concerns of all of those who have given so generously of their time and have provided an excellent service is in my opinion akin to a slap in the face, and Minister Doherty must step in and call a halt.
‘Last Spring, the Dáil passed a motion, brought forward by Fianna Fáil, calling on the restructuring process to be halted. This was then followed by a report from the Committee on Social Protection which recommended the same.
“Despite this, the Minister continues to claim that she has no authority or responsibility for this matter and it is solely an issue for the Board of the Citizens Information Board.
“At this stage, I find the whole situation incredulous and I believe it is high time that the Minister took her head out of the sand and seriously engaged with those who have very real and genuine concerns about the negative impact that this whole process is having on MABS and CIS.
“Hoping that the problem will go away is not an acceptable way of doing business by a senior Government Minister.
“It’s time Minister Doherty did her job, and started to respect the staff and volunteers who provide these crucial services,” conclude O’Dea.