Independent TD Mattie McGrath has once again condemned the Government for ignoring the most vulnerable in Rural Ireland as they close 12 Community Welfare Service Clinics across Tipperary. According to a letter that Deputy McGrath received from the Department of Social Protection Divisional Manager of the Midlands South Region, Community Welfare Clinics in the following areas are to close: Bansha, Drangan, Fourmilewater, Kilsheelan, Littleton, Templederry, Toomevara, Birr, Drombane, Moyne, Kilcommon, Portroe and Rearcross.
“While I understand the need for cutbacks in the Department of Social Protection Operations, I feel that this is another huge blow to the most vulnerable in these rural areas and the services could have been cut back to a fortnightly service rather than cut out altogether” said Deputy McGrath .
“Many of the elderly, disabled and most vulnerable who use the Community Welfare Service do not drive and bus services have been removed from most of these rural villages. The Government continue to cut the funding of Rural Transport Services such as Ring A Link and the cost of owning a car continues to rise. How are these people expected to get to their nearest town at the specified times without transport” asked Deputy McGrath.
“More and more services are being stripped from Rural Ireland and the citizens living in rural areas are being ignored. Will this Government increase their funding for Rural Transport as they expect everyone to do all of their business in the towns.”
Deputy McGrath also questioned the logic of bringing everyone into the town services and has sought confirmation that the emergency number that will be provided in place of the service will be answered at all times.
“We cannot just continue to disregard Rural Ireland. The people of Rural Ireland are being forced to pay Household Charges, Property Taxes, Septic Tank Charges and Motor Tax on top of all other taxes and are not getting services in return. Since this Government has come into Office rural villages in Tipperary have lost their Garda Stations, Post Offices and Bus Services, Schools are being amalgamated, Roads are falling apart and businesses are closing down because of high rates and a lack of support. This is yet another service stripped from Rural Ireland and it’s getting to a stage where soon there will be nothing left to take.” Concluded McGrath