Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection Willie O’Dea has criticised the Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar for allowing the Citizens Information Board (CIB) and its Chief Executive continue with the restructuring of the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) and the Citizens Information Service (CIS).

“Minister Varadkar is completely contradicting the express will of Dáil Éireann where it passed a Fianna Fáil PMB calling for this process to be halted to allow meaningful engagement on the issue with all of the stakeholders.

“The decision to keep going with the restructuring rests with the Minister and the CIB. It has come to my intention that the CIB have begun to host regional meetings to discuss the implementation of the restructuring proposals.

“They can claim that these meetings are ‘consultations’ all they like, but nothing could be further from the truth. By their own admission, in a press statement issued this week, the CIB stated that they are determined to proceed with changing the structure of MABS and CIS from a local to a regional model.

“Minister Varadkar must apply the brakes to these regional meetings, and ensure that no further attempts at restructuring takes place until meaningful engagement, as directed by Dáil Éireann, takes place.

“No one wants this restructuring to take place except the senior management in CIB who, it would appear are attempting to consolidate their power.

“Neither the staff nor volunteers support these proposals, and I believe that no further changes should take place until a report on the matter is published by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection.

“The cavalier attitude being shown by the Citizens Information Board and its Chief Executive is simply unacceptable. In my opinion they are showing utter disregard for the wishes of the Dáil and the wishes of their staff and volunteers.

“Minister Varadkar would do well to stay focussed on his current responsibilities instead of getting distracted in pursuit of any other future role,” concluded O’Dea.