St. Brendan’s Community School Student working with Citizen Information Service

St. Brendan's Community School Student working with Citizen Information Service

Hannah Ryan, Transition Year Student, St Brendan’s Community School, Birr

An insight into the CIS Tullamore Citizens Information Centre

An interview with the CIC staff from a Transition Year Students perspective


Tullamore CIC is one of 10 CIC centres within South Leinster Citizens Information Service (SLCIS).


What is the CIS (Citizens Information Service)? And what do they do?


Citizen’s information service is a valuable resource in our community. They aim to provide a free, confidential service for the public, so people can access information about their rights and entitlements.

It is important to get a firsthand account of what is happening in the centres daily. I interviewed the wonderful staff and volunteers at Tullamore citizens information centre to gain a better understanding.


St. Brendan's Community School Student working with Citizen Information Service

Christine Guilfoyle, Information Officer

The first person I interviewed was Christine Guilfoile, she is heavily involved in the advocacy work at the CIC (Citizens Information Centres). She has worked in the CIS for 23 years, but she said every day is different. “Every day is new; you don’t know whose is going to come in that door” she explained to me. She believes that the centres are a necessity and so many people would be lost without them. She put a large emphasis on the importance of confidentially for all who come in and the zero tolerance for discrimination here at CIS. “We treat everyone the same. We do not judge, there is no judgement here” she said.


I also interviewed Majella Quinn who has been an information officer for the last decade at Tullamore CIC. She meets people on drop ins and appointments daily and helps them best she can. Although she said sometimes the work can be frustrating if there is nothing possible that she can do to help the person, overall, she finds she makes a positive impact and loves the work she does.


I interviewed another information officer next, Matt O’Connor. He said that there is no ‘typical’ day at the centre as there is such a stark difference day to day. Every person who comes into the centre has a different circumstance and is just as important as the person before them. He is another person at the centre who does advocacy work, he talked about a particular case he was proud of that helped a client with housing issues.


St. Brendan's Community School Student working with Citizen Information Service

Catherine Mulvin, Volunteer Receptionist & Information Provider

CIS also has a strong volunteer team. I interviewed the two ladies who work at reception Catherine and Leisha, who have been working here for a few months now. They work at Tullamore CIC twice a week where they run reception, taking calls, giving out forms and welcoming people into the centre. Leisha said that when she started volunteering at the CIS that “she could not believe what they do for people.” Both ladies enjoy the work they do and stress the importance of the CIC.


Interviewing the wonderful staff and volunteers gave me an insight into the CIS and the work they do here.

When asked about the work environment, everyone said it was positive and that they get on great. Everyone works together as a team, supporting one another, creating a friendly and efficient work environment.


Visit your local citizens information centre where the teams will happily answer questions about your rights and entitlements e.g. regarding health, social welfare, employment, money, and tax- the list goes on.


In the South Leinster citizen information service 2022 annual report, we can see how much CIS accomplished in our community. Dedicated staff and volunteers assisted 51,577 callers and answered 148,545 queries in 2022. In 2022 they saw a return of clients via drop-in clinic and face to face appointments as they recovered from COVID 19, in total they saw 19,320 of our caller’s face to face. On average 25-30 people drop-in daily.


Advocacy is another important aspect of SL CIS. Advocacy is any action that speaks in favour of, recommends, argues for a cause, supports, or defends, or pleads on behalf of others.


In 2022, SLCIS experienced an overall increase in short term advocacy of 31.07% and an overall increase in long-term advocacy of 14.03%. Our staff worked on 406 long term advocacy cases addressing several problems significantly related to social welfare and housing. Additionally, we completed 676 short-term cases. Over the last 20 years CIS service has developed and adapted, working on improving communication and making it easier for people to access information.


They also have a significant role in creating social policies. These policies aim to identify and find ways of reducing inequalities, concerning the ways our society meets human needs for security, education, work, health, and wellbeing.


Understanding your rights and entitlements is extremely important and is not to be overlooked, if you have any queries at all please contact Tullamore CIC where you will be provided with the help you need. To find out opening hours or if you would like the CIC to address a specific query or to book an appointment with a member of the team, please contact call 081 807 6290


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