Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection and Communities, Aengus Ó’Snodaigh TD, today condemned as a lie the claim by Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD, that core weekly welfare payments were protected in Budget 2014.
Deputy Ó’Snodaigh said:
“The Minister claimed again today that core weekly welfare payments are protected in this Budget. Just because you say something a hundred times doesn’t make it true. In fact it is a lie to suggest that weekly rates are not being cut. The weekly welfare rate for young jobseekers is to be €44 lower – what is that if not a core rate cut? The weekly welfare rate for 65 year olds who can no longer work due to disability is to be €36.80 lower – what is that if not a core rate cut? Social insurance benefits, including maternity, illness, invalidity pension and bereavement benefits are also being cut in this budget.
“The Fianna Fáil government caused the economy to crash and the current government have done nothing to protect or create jobs for young people. Youth unemployment does not even feature in the latest Government Action Plan for Jobs.
“Fianna Fáil were the first to cut young people’s jobseekers allowance. At the time the Labour Party opposed the cuts vehemently and on principle, claiming at the time that it was ‘abundantly clear that the real purpose of these reforms is to promote emigration’ and that it sent the message to our young people that ‘there is no place in Ireland for them at the moment and that they would be better off emigrating’.
“SIPTU have said this cut is an attempt to drive young people into jobs with low pay, no pay or out of the country. The Minister has reportedly indicated that the cuts are expected to affect 14,000. I would surmise that the true number is potentially higher and that far from discouraging social welfare dependence a new welfare trap is actually being created.”