The Community Welfare Clinic in St. Johnston is to close – and will shut today.
Angry local councillor Cora Harvey said: “This is yet again another attack on rural Donegal, at a time when the services of a community welfare officer is most needed a decision like this is made.
“Local Management are forced to make these types of decisions by the Department of Social Protection and I do not blame local personnel, the buck stops with the Minister and the local people suffer.”
A notice with the information to remove this service was posted on the door of the clinic in St. Johnston and people were informed that the service is being removed and they are advised to avail of the Community Welfare Officers in Letterkenny 16 miles away.
Said Cllr Harvey: “This is simply not good enough, the people of St Johnston deserve to have this service retained, there are 41 locations in Donegal were local Community Welfare officers are available for 1 -2 hour slots and if St. Johnston looses their CWO I am sure others will follow. The services provided by the CWO are essential and are not a luxury.
“Letterkenny currently have the service available for only 4 hours a week, this service is already bursting at the seams and are now expected to cater for St. Johnston and surrounding areas. This is unworkable and unfeasible.”
Cllr Harvey added: “Furthermore, this is a vital service for the local community and should be accessible, there is little or no public transport to Letterkenny from St Johnston, this is a service for the most vulnerable in our community and this decision will make it harder if not impossible to avail of the service – obviously that is the intent as the Department will save money if people cannot access the service. I am told this is a well utilized service and one which the Community does not want to nor cannot afford to lose.
I call for this decision to be reversed immediately , we have contacted the Department and submitted PQ’s on this issue as Questions need to be answered.”