Tuesday, 15 June 2004
Dáil Eireann Debate
620. Mr. Boyle asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if she will provide the most immediate statistics available on the number of citizens who have made use of the information giving services of Comhairle [17930/04]
Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Mary Coughlan): The national information agency, Comhairle, is charged with the task of supporting the provision of independent information, advice and advocacy services so as to ensure that citizens have access to accurate, comprehensive and clear information relating to social services. One of the principal ways in which it carries out that task is through the support it provides to the national network of citizen’s information centres and the citizen’s information phone service.
During 2003, the last year for which statistics are available, citizen’s information centres received almost 560,000 queries from citizens which represents an increase of 23% on the previous year. Personal callers comprised just over half of those queries with telephone, letter, e-mail and outreach services making up the balance. The citizen’s information phone service which was launched as a nationwide service in May 2003 received more than 41,000 calls in 2003, an increase of 112% over the previous year.
Comhairle also makes information available to citizens through the OASIS on-line access to services, information and support, website which provides user-friendly information on the full range of public services. In 2003, there were almost one million hits on this website.
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