OFFALY Citizens Information Service Volunteer, Tom Walsh was honoured at a special ceremony in the EU Commission office in Dublin recently.
Volunteers who have given over 20 years of service to their community with the Citizens Information Service were presented with a certificate and a commemorative bowl at the event which was hosted by the Citizens Information Board (CIB) and the National Association of Citizens Information Services.
The occasion was marked in this the European Year of the Volunteer by the attendance of Minister of State for European Affairs, Ms Lucinda Creighton TD.
Mr Tony McQuinn, Chief Executive, Citizens Information Board said: “Volunteers have played an essential part in the development of Citizens Information Services and continue to be integral to the delivery of this community based service. They bring commitment, life experience and a vast range of skills to their role.”
He added:” This event which is particularly appropriate in this the European Year of Volunteers, acknowledges the volunteers who have dedicated themselves for the past twenty years or more, to ensuring that their local communities, especially the vulnerable or socially excluded, have access to information on entitlements and services and the assistance needed in securing them.”
Today there are 1,175 volunteers working alongside 272 paid staff and 190 Employment Scheme workers in the service which has over 260 locations comprising 55 full-time Citizens Information Centres (CICs), 55 part-time centres and 152 outreaches.
Volunteers are as important to the Citizens Information services today as they were 20 years ago and provide a service equivalent to a 113 whole time staff which is equivalent to a third of all service hours.
Last year there were 666,837 callers to centres around the country, 143, 793 calls were answered by the Citizens Information Phone Service and over 4.5 million people visited citizensinformation.ie