Fears for the future of Community Welfare outreach service

It's emerged that over 40 part time Community Welfare Offices could close in Donegal when responsibility for the services transfers from the HSE to the Department of Social Protection from the first of January.

A special report in today's Donegal News says no community welfare officers will lose their jobs, but instead of operating from health centres and travelling out to isolated communities, the officers are likely to be integrated into the existing social welfare structure.

At present, the county is split into 18 areas, but 60 locations are visited by the Community Welfare Officers. Now, it's feared that the vast majority of those outreach services will be lost.

Kate Heaney is the author of today's special report, she says welfare officers fear that people will suffer as a result...........

[podcast]http://www.highlandradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/kateh1pm.mp3[/podcast]