The Deputy Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Cllr. Sharon McAleer travelled to Stormont last week to deliver a Letter of Concern on behalf of the Council and the local community to the Minister for Communities, Paul Givan, following the Department’s consultation on proposals to close the Cookstown Social Security Office and Job Centre and move face to face services to branches in Dungannon and Magherafelt.
The letter reiterated to the Minister the Council’s deep concerns that the proposed closure would have a detrimental effect on the most vulnerable in the predominantly rural Cookstown area, concerns which had previously been put to him at a meeting of Council Members and Officials on 8th November.
Deputy Chair Cllr. McAleer said, “We are extremely concerned at the proposed closure of the Cookstown Social Security Office and put across our views to the Minister in the strongest possible terms in this Letter of Concern which I am personally delivering today.
“We have also identified several flaws in the consultation document that contained inaccurate figures which were both misleading and disingenuous. The Council’s position is that it was and still is open for detail discussions with the department on these issues, and we continue to encourage those affected and in the sector to make their views known to the Minister.”
The proposals were debated in the Assembly in an adjournment debate brought by Linda Dillon, MLA and a past Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, on Tuesday 15th November.
The Minister who was present for the debate stated, “All the issues will be taken very seriously, and I am committed to taking my own view on all this on the basis of information that will be provided to me.”