Monday 10 December 2018

Citizen info used by '1 in 10' of us

Citizens Information Service is heavily used across North Fingal

Andrew McCann from Fingal CIS
Andrew McCann from Fingal CIS

John Manning

One in ten of the people of North Fingal used the services of Citizens Information last year, according to the organisation's annual report.

The report also shows that 41% of all queries from the public in North Fingal were about social welfare services, followed by queries about health and housing services.

Nearly half of those availing of Citizens Information services in 2017 were in the 26 to 45 years old age bracket followed by 30% aged 46 to 65.

In 2017 the service won nearly €50,000 for clients in relation to either employment settlement cases or social welfare payments being overturned.

This figure also excludes disputes resolved and the granting of social welfare payments on a daily basis, as well as ongoing active cases

'Gone are the days of the simple questions', stated Andrew McCann, Development Manager for Fingal Citizens Information Service.

With four centres in Swords, Skerries, Balbriggan and Malahide, Mr McCann said: 'Our team assist clients with a complex array of queries including eligibility and assessment of schemes and payments, as well as representation of clients at both social welfare appeals and Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) hearings. Our team are committed to doing the best for the public with compassion and professionalism.'

Citizens Information provide a free, impartial and confidential service to the public on all their rights and entitlements. The service is provided by phone, email or in person on a walk-in basis via their four centres in North Fingal.

The vision of the Development Manager, Andrew McCann, is to ensure everyone in North Fingal is aware of the service, knows what they do, and is the service is readily accessible and available to those who need it if or when required.

Having spent 15 years with the service, Mr McCann says he has seen Citizens Information grow in the area from strength to strength, and he says he still has the passion to drive it forward.

Mr McCann explained: 'Even with advances in technology and information overload, all people want is their voice to be heard, their problem acknowledged and someone to listen and help them be their voice.'

He concluded: 'As a service our reputation is built on continuous success backed by a team of volunteers and staff who are trained and committed to helping people in their community.'

Fingal Independent