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Abolition of December bonus stupid and scrooge like

8 April, 2009 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Speaking on the debate on the emergency budget in the Dáil this afternoon Dublin Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh slammed the Government’s attacks vulnerable sections of society and described the decision to abolish the December bonus for social welfare recipients and the halving of the of the job seekers allowance for under 20s, as a stupid and scrooge like policy.

He said, "Some 80,000 people have lost their jobs since Christmas. The creation of 23,000 places in the budget on various training schemes does nothing for them, the other 300,000 who lost their jobs before them and those likely to be laid off during the next couple of months. Where is the plan to address their retraining or educational needs? There is none. There is nothing in the budget to help them.

"While I would not wish unemployment on anybody, I wish it on this Government. Many Members on the benches opposite would learn a lesson or two from a period of six to 12 months unemployment. They might then understand the consequences of their budget decisions on the lives of those worst affected, including those who are disadvantaged, those who never enjoyed the fruits of the Celtic Tiger and those who have struggled, some of whom have low literacy skills, who suffer addiction and live in difficult circumstances. Yesterday's budget offered no help for these people.

"For the children of disadvantaged families, the joy of Christmas would be lessened if this little bit of a bonus were not available to allow people to get a toy or two for their children. The stupidity of the Government's decision in this regard is evident when one considers that the Christmas social welfare bonus also serves to stimulate the struggling retail industry. Many shops in this country are in danger of closing over the next few months. Many of them will close next Christmas if this killjoy Government persists with its scrooge policy of abolishing the bonus." ENDS

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