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‘Stop using courthouse as venue for PIP tribunals’

PEOPLE are being made to feel like criminals because they are being asked to attend Personal Independence Payment (PIP) tribunals in Omagh courthouse, a local councillor has claimed.

 
At the monthly meeting of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Barry McElduff asked his fellow elected representatives to support writing a letter to the Department of Justice (DoJ) asking that the courthouse not be used for the hearings in future.
 
He said, “Those people who are appealing decisions against them are being made to feel like criminals. They’re being searched on the way in with airport-style security.”
 
Cllr McElduff said he had received significant feedback that “it is a nightmare experience, very, very traumatic” for people.
 
He called for the DoJ to work in collaboration with the Department for Communities to end the practise of using Omagh courthouse as a venue for the PIP tribunals. Seconding his proposal, Chris Smyth told the meeting that he had attended quite a number of these appeals at the courthouse.
 
Cllr Smyth said, “The response from people is that they are absolutely overwhelmed going to the courthouse. They feel like they’ve done something wrong when they haven’t.”
 
He added, “I think it’s adding unnecessary stress.”
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