A new era is dawning for the North Tipperary Citizen Information Service with the opening of its new offices in Nenagh.
The offices of the former Xtravision store on Pearse Street were opened by the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, and the ceremony was attended by staff and volunteers from the Citizens Information Center as well as local councillors, the chief executive of Tipperary, Joe MacGrath, and local TDs, Alan Kelly and Jackie Cahill and Senator Garret Ahearn.
Minister McEntee paid tribute to the work of the service in Nenagh and congratulated everyone involved in providing such a professional service to the citizens of the area.
‘I know the history of the service in the city and its various locations before coming here to Pearse Street and wish the team here in Nenagh CIS every success in these new offices,’ she said.
Minister McEntee thanked the staff and volunteers who have provided the service in Nenagh for the past 47 years and wished the staff, with the help of volunteers, good luck in providing the service in the future.
The Minister also thanked the Citizen Information Service for the support given to those fleeing the crisis in Ukraine.
“On behalf of the Government, I would like to thank the Board and staff of North Munster CIS for their support and guidance to those arriving in Ireland from Ukraine.
“You provide a very valuable and vital service to those who need it most and are fleeing a war where untold crimes are being perpetrated. We very much appreciate the service you provide,” she said.
Chairman of the North Munster Citizens Information Service, Martin Quinn, referred to the fact that it was the National Community Development Organization Muintir na Tíre that was responsible for setting up community information centers across the country, through the adoption of a resolution in 1968. to create information centers in Ireland on the model of the Citizens Advice bureaus in the United Kingdom.
“From the beginning, values such as impartiality, independence and confidentiality as well as the ability to respond to local needs have been the main determinants of the centers,” said Mr. Quinn who went on to call for the return of the voluntary, in any case. roles, serving.
“As a service, we have lost all our volunteers during the pandemic and now it is really important to bring the service back to a level where there is sufficient staff to meet the increasing demands of the service.
“I would therefore like to urge CIB management and the board to accept the recommendations of the volunteer strategy group on the reintroduction of volunteers so that we can bring the service to a level where the offices can resume a greater level face to face. face service and advocacy and where we can provide the necessary training for volunteers and CE participants, to enable them to continue to provide professional service to the citizens of the region,” he said.
Mr Quinn stressed that this was essential to retain existing services in Clonmel, Tipperary Town, Thurles, Roscrea, Waterford City, Shannon (Clare) and Newcastlewest (Limerick), which could be affected due to lack of staff resources.
Regional Director for North Munster, Ciarán Casey, reminded participants that the roots of Irish Citizen Information Services go back to Tipperary.
He also said that Nenagh was an important center as it was one of three towns included in the Regional Spatial Strategy which foresees that Nenagh will increase its population by 30% before 2040.
Mr Casey said when they took over the venue in 2019 it was an empty shell and they were now ready to move on to the next phase.
He also pointed out that in 2019, staff handled 17,750 queries.
“It’s a huge amount of work done by two employees supported by a strong team of volunteers who are trained and committed to working in their community,” Mr. Casey said.
He thanked the CES workers at the center, who he said were all part of the heart of the team.
Nicola Walshe, Finance Manager, Citizens Information Service, said that although the service opened in 1975 in Nenagh, the need remained for an independent and confidential service that catered to a wide range of topics.
Ms. Walshe paid tribute to former Development Manager Mary Plunkett, who has retired.
Darren Ryan, Tipperary’s new Development Director, was MC for the occasion and the blessing of the new premises was led by Father Des Hillery.
Father Des took as his blessing the piece of scripture: Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is gentle and my burden light.
“It is, I think, the message of the Citizen Information Center, that the person who comes in is to meet someone and not the information that is shared,” he said.