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Welfare rates must be maintained – Morgan

30 April, 2009

Responding to today’s OECD's report that dole payments are too high, Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has said that the economic crisis and the failure of the Government to initiate an employment strategy are keeping people on the dole and not the level of welfare payments. Deputy Morgan said current rates of social welfare payments must be maintained.

Deputy Morgan said, "It is highly insulting for the hundreds of thousands of Irish workers who are trying their best to find work to be told by a so-called expert from the OECD that dole payments are keeping people away from work.

"The Taoiseach and Táinaiste have failed to show any leadership on the unemployment epidemic that is destroying our towns and cities and rural communities.

"If the Government and bodies such as the OECD focused on job creation and job retention rather than targeting cut backs in welfare less people would be on the dole today.

"The Taoiseach is ultimately responsible for the thousands of Irish families who are now dealing with unemployment. Whether it is the budget or dealing with the banks the Government have made one mistake after another. Public confidence in the Government is at an all-time low.

"How many more mistakes does the Brian Cowen and Mary Coughlan have to make before they do the decent thing and resign?"

On the issue of welfare payments becoming almost as high as wages for low income earners, the Louth TD said that the levy on the minimum wage and part-time workers has done more to disincentivise employment than any dole payment.

"The truth is that families are struggling with their welfare payments to meet the daily costs of living, which have not gone down. If Minister Hanafin proceeds with her plans to cut welfare payments our economy will be damaged and the Minister will put the livelihood of thousands of families into jeopardy. Current rates of social welfare payments must be maintained." ENDS

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