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Fianna Fáil & the Greens = Social Injustice

22 April, 2009

Speaking during a Dáil debate on the government’s decision to end the social welfare Christmas bonus payment Sinn Féin Economic Spokesperson Arthur Morgan charged Brian Cowen with “penny pinching pensioners and the poor” adding “the depth of social injustice that underpins this governments policy making is truly shocking.”

The Louth TD said:

“Let’s just take a minute to reflect on who exactly will be affected by this austere measure. Ireland has the second highest rate of pensioner poverty in the EU. What sort of Christmas are the elderly going to have this year?

“Lone parents are more likely than any other social group to be living in poverty. Data from the EU Survey on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), conducted by the Central Statistics Office, shows that in 2006, 33% of one-parent families were living in consistent poverty, compared to 7% of the population as a whole. And this was in the good times? What sort of Christmas will these families have?

“Minister for Social and Family Affairs Mary Hanafin has moved to defuse a political time bomb by pledging to pay the social welfare Christmas bonus if there is a ‘windfall’ in the department’s coffers or savings targets are exceeded.

“With over half a million people expected to be unemployed by the year-end where exactly does she expect this white knight going to ride in from?

“Sinn Féin called for the PRSI ceiling to be abolished and also for an increase in PRSI of 1% for all employees in its emergency budget submission. This would have raised €950 million in a full year making many of the governments cuts in social welfare unnecessary.” ENDS

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