Concern at potential impact of proposed MABS reorganisation

Concern remains at the future of the MABS service as an Oireachtas committee continues to consider a proposal to abolish the 51 local MABS companies, and replace them with 8 regional companies.

The Citizens Information Board, which is responsible for the administration of MABS services, says the change is necessary to streamline the service and better utilise resources, but this is rejected by the group which represents the companies themselves.

The Citizens Information Board says operating 51 MABS companies involves excessive bureaucracy, and streamlining the service would free up staff to work more productively.

Ita Mangan is CEO of the CIB. Two weeks ago, she told the opening session of the Oireachtas Social Protection committee that this proposal makes sense...........

However, the National Management Forum which represents the companies themselves opposes the move, saying the basis of MABS is it is rooted in the community.

They also say there could be a question mark over the future of some of the MABS offices.

In Donegal there are three MABS companies running four offices, MABS West Donegal in Derrybeg, MABS South Donegal in Donegal Town and MABS North Donegal, with offices in Buncrana and Letterkenny.

James Clarke of the National Management Forum told the Oireachtas Committee that there are no guarantees that changes will not be made to services in the long term, and he said the proposals are counter to the very essence of MABS as a community initiative.........