Dole offices in the spotlight


Welfare claimants too often have to queue for their entitlements in dingy conditions or in the rain and cold, according to a new survey.

While urban employment exchanges tend to be in good condition, their rural counterparts and many urban health centres are not, some being cramped, and dirty, according to the survey by the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed.

Lengthy queues are a feature and it can take up to two hours to reach the end of the queue at some health centres. Most respondents in rural areas said there were queues outside the employment exchanges.

Health clinics emerge as more "user friendly" than employment exchanges. There is more likely to be privacy for transactions between claimants and officials, the names of staff are more likely to be known and there is less likely to be a glass partition between claimants and staff.