Longford-Westmeath Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy has called on the Minister for Social Protection to immediately move to fill key vacancies in local social welfare offices in Mullingar, Athlone, and Longford.
Deputy Troy confirmed that a total of eight positions are currently vacant, including two at inspector level, and two of the posts have now been vacant for eight months.
“Minister Burton has been talking a lot about protecting frontline services and tackling fraud to ensure the Government’s resources are going to those who need them most; however these figures tell a very different story. The Minister seems content to allow very senior and important positions at local social welfare offices to remain vacant for months and she has given no indication when or if they will be filled,” said Deputy Troy.
“I know many people who are experiencing long delays in having legitimate claims processed in Westmeath and Longford while the Government just sits on its hands. The Longford office is by far the most affected where there are five vacancies, two of which are senior positions and one is an inspector. There is also a vacant position for an inspector in Mullingar, while Athlone has been missing a staff officer since last September.
“The Government has set an ambitious target for fraud detection this year - savings of €645m. This will only be achieved if the necessary inspectors are in place, and the longer key administrative posts remain vacant the longer people will have to wait to have their legitimate claims processed. This is not acceptable and I am calling on Minister Burton to immediately move to fill these positions.”