A report compiled by Sinn Féin Social Protection spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh has been adopted by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Jobs, Social Protection and Education.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh was appointed Rapportuer by the Committee on Minister Joan Burton's proposal to merge all working age social assistance schemes into a single payment last December.
The report calls on the government to defer the introduction of a single working age payment for social welfare recipients until sufficient job opportunities exist and adequate supports are in place for single parents and people with disabilities.
The committee will launch the report next Tuesday. The Government is scheduled to present its plans on this to the Troika at the end of March.
In preparation of the report Deputy Ó Snodaigh met and received detailed submissions from 15 organisations including representatives of people with disabilities, carers, lone parents, the unemployed and employer bodies.
The 69 page report for which he secured the backing of all political parties clearly articulates the concerns of those who would be affected by the reform. It recommends that the government should not proceed with a single working age payment at this time principally because the necessary supports, services and quality jobs for people to move onto do not exist.
As such, it concludes, to proceed with the reform would simply serve to cut the incomes of groups who are already recognised to be at higher risk of poverty.
Speaking today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:
“This is a critical juncture for the Irish welfare state. Our social welfare system, our societal safety net, is under attack in the austerity driven model pursued by this government and by the EU.
“I undertook this work because I believe it is vital that the voices of the increasing number of families depending on some form of social welfare payment be heard. I also sought to capture the views of the NGOs working with people dependent on state supports and employers on this.
“I am delighted to have secured all-party backing for my report. I hope it will positively influence the government and I will be alerting the Troika to its contents when I meet them with my own party colleagues later this month.” ENDS