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Thursday, 24th September 2020

Council rejects proposal for a Social Inclusion Officer in Louth

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Councillor Michelle Hall.

Motion rejected despite unanimous support of Councillors

Even though it received unanimous support from Councillors, the Executive of Louth County Council has shot down a motion from Labour Party Councillor Michelle Hall asking for a Social Inclusion Officer be appointed to liaise with community groups as is the practice in many other local authorities.

Councillor Hall said she had consulted with community organisations who work with people with disabilities, mental health difficulties or economically disadvantaged and their overwhelming response had been that a single contact such as a Social Inclusion Officer or Unit was badly needed.

"County Louth has areas of severe social deprivation, over 13% of people have some form of a disability and a large cohort of non-nationals reside here” Councillor Hall said.

“These groups especially, find it hard to navigate the services within Louth County Council.

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“This evidence is backed up by the poor performance of the council in this year's Local Authority Satisfaction Survey in which Louth performed below average in all six areas surveyed.

“Only 28% of respondents felt that they were informed by the Council compared to 43% nationally and only 28% felt that Louth County Council was open and transparent.

"I felt that presenting the evidence to back my motion might persuade the executive to change their mind but their response was that the LCDC (Local Community Development Committee) maintains their social inclusion plan. However this does not seem to relate to actual experiences of service users."

Chief Executive Joan Martin told Councillor Hall that appointments are an executive decision even if there is full support from the other councillors.

"It is a pity that the executive is not taking on board the findings of the survey and not responding to the needs of the constituents” Councillor Hall said.

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