People Before Profit TD Expresses “Shock And Outrage” At News That Service For Blind Community Under Attack

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In a statement this evening, people Before Profit TD, Richard Boyd Barrett, said he was “shocked and outraged” at the news that one of the two workers in the NCBI Resource Centre in Dun Laoghaire had received a dismissal notice.

Two weeks ago Richard Boyd Barrett heard that there were plans to move the NCBI Resource Centre in Dun Laoghaire town to Tallaght.

This move would leave Dun Laoghaire, North Wicklow and Dublin Bay South as the only HSE area in the country without such a centre.

The centre provides vital services to the blind community including mindfulness workshops, coffee mornings and book clubs.  It is a drop-in centre where service users can get help with technology and order replacement white canes.

When the news of the proposals were heard by the blind community they contacted NCBI head office, their local TD’s, including Richard Boyd Barrett, and they organised a well-attended protest at the centre. 

Following this, Richard Boyd Barrett, received a PQ reply stating that the NCBI were going to submit “a revised proposal” for the future of the service to the HSE and also agreed to “review their decision on the future of the Dun Laoghaire office.”

The latest news that one of the key workers in the office has received a dismissal notice is both “shocking” and “estremely worrying”.

Richard Boyd Barrett TD said: “I really cannot believe the latest news from the service users of the NCBI Resource Centre.

After their hard lobbying and protesting, they did believe the reassurances they had got from the HSE that the NCBI would go back to the drawing board. They were optimistic that a solution would be found and their service would be safe.  I will be raising this, as a matter of urgency with the Minister and with the HSE officials and will be supporting both the workers and the service users in whatever action they take to try and protect this vital service.”

Michael Griffith, one of the service users, added: “I cannot believe that the NCBI would have issued a dismissal notice to this vital member of staff.  As far as we are concerned, within the blind community, if we lose this staff member, who is extraordinarily kind and helpful, we will essentially be losing the service.  I will be writing to the HSE and the NCBI asking for them to immediately reverse this decision.”