People in north Donegal are having to wait up to 26 weeks for an appointment with the Monetary Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS), it has emerged.
The delay in getting a first appointment in Donegal is the longest in the country, with the national average waiting time being 4.5 weeks.
The figures were revealed in response to a parliamentary question submitted by Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty,
His party colleague, Matt Carthy, who is running as a candidate for MEP Midlands North West, said the news was “shocking” and “totally unacceptable”.
He said: “North Donegal has the longest waiting time, at 26.2 weeks. These waiting times may force families under pressure from banks to agree to unsustainable and unfair debt repayment agreements. This is totally unacceptable.
“When people make up their mind to approach MABS, they are usually in a desperate position, needing immediate help to cope with the financial difficulties they are facing.
“I have held a number of information meetings on mortgage distress across the Midlands North West constituency and I have seen the stress faced by people who are struggling with their finances.
“Fine Gael and Labour promised in the Programme for Government to strengthen MABS but clearly this has not materialised. The government needs to address this situation immediately by providing the necessary resources and staff to ensure that people in Donegal and elsewhere do not have to wait such lengthy periods for what is now an essential service.”