Dáil Éireann - Volume 423 - 14 October, 1992
Written Answers. - Employment Exchanges.
Mr. Quinn Mr. Quinn
43. Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he has satisfied himself with (1) the physical conditions of employment exchanges and (2) the locations of the exchanges vis-à-vis the community they are serving; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. McCreevy) Charlie McCreevy
Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. McCreevy): I am fully committed to a policy which ensures that my Department's local offices offer a high standard of accommodation for the staff and members of the public alike. I am satisfied that very significant progress has been made on this front in recent years.
My Department is engaged, in co-operation with the Office of Public Works, in an ongoing programme to improve the general standard of accommodation at local offices. In the five year period ending this year over £13 million will have been spent on this work. To date 17 new offices have been provided and 11 existing offices extensively refurbished. At present, there are three new offices under construction while one is being extensively refurbished. Immediate plans include an early start on building a further two new offices and one major refurbishment project. The programme will continue to be advanced as quickly as financial and technical resources will allow.
There is a very extensive network of local offices involved mainly in the provision of my Department's services for the unemployed. The main expansion of the network has occurred in the Dublin  area where new offices were opened to reduce the very large numbers attending the centre city offices and to provide a more localised service in the suburbs. There are 14 offices serving the Dublin area and nine of these are located outside the city centre. Generally speaking, I am satisfied that the network is extensive enough to serve our client base adequately. Arrangements are already in place to pay unemployed clients not convenient to local offices through the post office system.
More comprehensive use of computerisation will enable my Department to operate a system of alternative payment methods and less frequent signing for many of those receiving unemployment payments. This has already begun and will be extended, over time. As a result, many clients will not have to attend my Department's local offices on a weekly basis. This will facilitate the provision, at local level, of a more comprehensive service which will be extended as circumstances allow.
Dáil Éireann 423 Written Answers. Employment Exchanges.