Castlepollard (File pic).

No decision on Castlepollard welfare office made yet

No decision has been taken on the opening of a new social welfare branch office in Castlepollard, according to Minister Heather Humphreys.

The office in the town closed in April due to “extenuating circumstances” and an interim service that opens two days a week was set up in the civic offices.

Responding to a parliamentary question from Deputy Robert Troy asking when “a permanent solution will be in place for the replacement of the social welfare office in Castlepollard”, Minister Humphreys revealed that no “formal decision has yet been taken”.

She said the current outreach service is “fully supported by the Mullingar Intreo Centre” and that its “effectiveness... is subject to ongoing review”.

Minister Humphreys noted that in her capacity as minster for rural and community development she allocated funding of €3.8m for regeneration projects in Castlepollard, including the “refurbishment and renovation of the historic Market House Building”.

While he welcomed the funding as it “shows a commitment by government to the development and regeneration of our rural towns”, Deputy Troy said it is vital that “we maintain government services in our local towns”.

“There is no point in having buildings done up if we don’t have the services to support economic activity.

“I believe that’s why we need to maintain the critical services of the social welfare office. We need to see a decision made promptly. Indecision is leading to uncertainty in the community and people are worried.

“They are being well served, there is no doubt, in terms of the services that have been put in place by the staff from Mullingar, but I think both the staff working there and the community would welcome certainty. That’s why I think Minister Humphreys needs to come down and confirm a commitment to a permanent office in Castlepollard.”