Petition To Save Social Welfare Office

Fears that Cashel’s Social Welfare Office might close have prompted staff at the office to launch a petition on Main Street in the coming weeks. The news comes in the wake of Cashel Hospital’s closure earlier this year and has sparked widespread popular opposition, says Ellen Allison, who works in the Office.

“We’re going to try and make the public aware,” she said. “The hospital closed and it wasn’t until it was gone that we realised we really needed it. We just want people to be aware that social welfare might be closed also.”

An unofficial source told Ellen’s mother Una Allison, who has worked in the office for nearly 40 years, that moves were underway to close the office after Una ends her contract in early June. “They have no obligation to continue the office after she retires,” added Ellen. She said representations were already being made to the minister responsible for Social and Family Affairs Séamus Brennan T.D., as well as Tom Hayes T.D., Cllr Tom Wood, and Cllr Siobhán Ambrose.

“We’re just getting the wheels turning at this stage. I’ve been working here 17 years now, ” says Ellen. “I know Social Welfare quite well. The public are very much behind it. They’re all telling me, ‘get out and get your petition, and if you want me to do anything or say something to a politician, just ask. This is what people are saying to me so it’s good to see the public are behind us.”

Ms Allison also expressed concern that if the office closes, members of the public will have to travel to Clonmel to avail of Social Services, with the resulting cost of transport being incurred by the recipient.

“People will have to travel to Clonmel and Thurles if it closes. There are no frequent bus services in this town to those towns. Even if they had a car, it would cost a E10 to get there and back, and then you have to pay for your parking.”

The petition in support of the social welfare office’s continued operation is expected to be launched on Saturday, April 7th, on the Main Street, most likely from noon to 3pm. “We’ve lost the hospital, so that’s why we want to get the people knowing that they are talking about closing it anyway,” she concluded.