Shame on the government that attacks the most vulnerable – Ó Snodaigh
Commenting on today’s announcements that rent supplement is to be cut, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Social Protection Aengus Ó Snodaigh has hit out at the government for proposing “yet another cruel and callous attack on the most vulnerable”.
Ó Snodaigh said:
“Yesterday two separate banking reports pointed to the government as being responsible for the worst economic crisis in the history of the state. Today that same government is yet again taking this out, not on bankers or politicians claiming extravagant expenses, but on some of the most disadvantaged people in the state – people who rely on rent supplements.
“Rent supplement is paid mainly to those who are totally dependent on social welfare, with the tenants being expected by the Community Welfare officers to pay a small portion of the rent from their meagre welfare payments. The dogs on the street know that the reality is that a large proportion of those in receipt of the payment, pay well over the official rent, in unofficial payments to unscrupulous landlords. So reducing the rent supplements will not force landlords to reduce the rent they charge, but will in fact lead to struggling families to make up the shortfall from their already depleted welfare payments.
"Rather than cutting the rent supplement payment, the state should stop subsidising private landlords, there are hundreds of thousands of empty homes which could be used to house those on rent supplement, the majority of whom are on local authority housing lists.
"This is a cruel and callous attack on vulnerable people who are already battling unemployment, cuts and debt. It is scandalous that this government can find billions to gift to its friends the corrupt bankers in Anglo Irish but can’t find €20 million to help disadvantaged people pay their rent.
“This is yet another in a long line of Fianna Fáil attacks on the most vulnerable. The Social Welfare Bill which is due before the Houses of the Oireachtas next tuesday proposes a litany of cuts to people on social welfare and on single parents in particular.
“This government has absolutely no shame. You really have to wonder what’s next on their drip-drip agenda of cuts. They have run this economy into the ground and they have crippled working people and the disadvantaged. Shame on them.” ENDS