THE clear opposition to the proposed government-backed restructuring of the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) and the Citizens Information Service (CIS) cannot be ignored.Â
That is the message from FF's Â Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony to Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty after she said staff and volunteers working at the MABS office in Dunmanway, and the CIS office in Bantry contacted her to complain that the restructuring process was continuing, despite their concerns.
The process would see all MABS and CIS groups dissolved and replaced with regional boards. If it goes ahead, there will be 15 new regional managers who will earn salaries while those who currently give Â their time for free on boards will have no role, it has been reported.
âThe restructuring process has already caused a great deal of upset and concern for many of the staff and volunteers who deliver these vital services,' said Deputy Murphy O'Mahony.
âStaff and volunteers in the West Cork's MABS and CIS centres are at one when it comes to their belief that the proposed model will ruin the ethos of both organisations.
âVolunteerism 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.'
She continued: âLast Spring, the DÃ¡il passed a motion, brought forward by Fianna FÃ¡il, 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.
âDespite this, the Minister continues to claim that she has no authority or responsibility for this matter and it is solely an issue for the Citizens Information Board.
âAt 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 of MABS and CIS.'