By Christy Parker
The economy may be losing its drive but staff at Lismore’s Social Welfare office certainly did their best to restore it. The two female employees were unable to access the building due to a faulty door lock on arriving for work. Showing the spirit of innovation that once made this country the envy of Europe, one of the girl’s promptly threw open the rear of her silver hatchback and faster than you could say, ‘where’s me credits? business went mobile.
Astonished by-passers couldn’t believe their eyes as, with the brakes well and truly on the economy, it appeared the wheels might be about to come off the State Social Welfare system as well. “There were people dotted around the street waiting their turn,” observed one local businessman. “There even had a cup of coffee on the roof!”
Fearing another government steering committee had taken to the road, another observer quipped, “I know Mary Hanafin wants to cut down on dole fraud, but this is a bit much! At first I thought it was someone selling stuff and then I was told it was the dole office trading on the street!” He added, “In this day and age, a government body operating out of the back of a car is unbelievable.”
Sounding a trifle embarrassed but philosophical, a spokeswoman for the Dept of Social Welfare delivered the explanations. A lock had “become stuck,” she confirmed before proceeding that “the staff expected it would take a half hour at best to repair but unfortunately it took all morning.”
The spokeswoman added, “Meantime they dealt with people as best and as quickly as they could. Documents were accepted and names and phone numbers were taken, or new appointments arranged, in relation to personal inquiries or fresh claims. Absolutely no cash transactions took place,” she stressed. “It was just one of those things.”
It may indicate the best of intentions, but somehow it all seems symbolic of an economy firmly parked -and set to accelerate downhill.