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Government continues Fianna Fáil approach of burdening least well off to pay for recovery – Ó Snodaigh

12 May, 2011 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Speaking in the Dáil today on the Government’s Jobs Initiative Sinn Féin Social Protect Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD criticised those who claim social welfare is a disincentive to work. He said the only disincentive to work in Ireland is the lack of jobs.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh accused Fine Gael and Labour of continuing Fianna Fáil’s approach of placing the burden of recovery unfairly on those in our society who have the least.

He said:

“There has been much discussion in the media and on the airwaves around the jobs crisis. Time and again commentators are depicting social welfare as a disincentive to work. Never was there a less appropriate time for that paradigm. Welfare is not a disincentive to work. The absence of a job is.

“That said a number of unemployment or poverty traps do still remain and these must be addressed. But the solution is not to cut rates and schemes. Rather the solution is to ensure that work pays by allowing recipients to move into low paid employment or increase their hours without fear of an immediate loss of all protections.

“I think the government recognises this and that is why the Programme for Government committed to amend the 30 hour rule for rent supplement and mortgage interest supplement. However I fear that the promise the government made to the EU and IMF indicates that they will instead take a retrograde approach to this issue. They will make life on social welfare so poor and intolerable that the most insecure, lowest paid and black market work will be incentivised.

“The government has committed to reducing social expenditure which means that despite ever increasing dole queues and greater numbers depending on mortgage interest supplement they have implicitly promised to make further cuts to social welfare schemes.

“Considering that the Programme for Government commits to maintain welfare rates I think it is more likely these will be stealth cuts. Eligibility rules will be tightened and secondary payments will be hit by this government.

“Fine Gael and the Labour Party will continue Fianna Fáil’s approach of placing the burden of recovery unfairly on those in our society who have the least.” ENDS

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