New figures released show Donegal Citizens Information Service was the second busiest in the country, with Dublin leading the way.
The Donegal service, which has offices in Letterkenny, Milford, Donegal Town, Ballyshannon, Dungloe, Carndonagh and Buncrana, with outreach services in Ballybofey and Killybegs, had over 40,000 clients use its services. These include providing information on public services and entitlements in Ireland such as education, social welfare, housing and family resources among others.
Donegal’s offices came second behind the capital whose services dealt with 43,000 clients in 2011.
Galway placed third on the figures with 10,000 less than Donegal on 29,000.
Manager, Colette Stuart said the figures reflected the high demand for service across the county.
“Meeting such a high level of demand for the Citizens Information Service in County Donegal, whilst maintaining and continuously improving the quality of the service, underlines the dedication and professionalism of our staff at a time when all services are under significant additional pressure from reductions in available resources”.
Susan McCauley of Cara House in Letterkenny, a drop in centre that promotes health, well being and quality of life of families and individuals through recreational and educational activities, says the recession is the reason so many are seeking help.
She explains: “Basically they want something to do. It’s not quite so bad at this time of the year, but up until now it has been terrible. It’s heart breaking”, she stated.
She says they often refer people to the Citizens Advice Services and she was “not surprised” the figures were so high.
“It’s because there is no work. Where are the jobs in Donegal? Who’s going to send the jobs to Donegal? We have men coming here asking ‘what can I do?’. They don’t all want to do a computer course because they are not geared that way,” she added.
“We have been so busy with one person after another coming to the door, asking questions and asking for information. We are run off our feet.”