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Social Welfare reform ‘step in the right direction’ – Brady

21 July, 2016 - by John Brady TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has welcomed comments made by Minister Varadkar on proposed radical changes to the social welfare system; namely, linking welfare payments to the cost of living

Teachta Brady said:

“I welcome proposals made by Minister Varadkar to link welfare payments to the cost of living something Sinn Féin have been calling for many years. Indeed, we were the first political party to call for this to happen.

“The fact that we have 750,000 people living in poverty in Ireland as well as the fact that the proportion of children living in consistent poverty almost doubled during the recession from 6.3% in 2008 to 11.2% in 2014 is reason enough on its own to look at reforming the system.

“There is no doubt that the huge increase in poverty levels is a direct consequence of both the political priorities and choices made by Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil before them. The cuts they made and the new taxes they introduced caused extreme hardship for families right across the State and little or nothing has been done to alleviate this for the majority of these families.

“The growing issue of poverty has not been tackled by this Government and it therefore, must be considered when changes are being proposed for the social welfare system. The weekly basic welfare payment is currently €188 while, the poverty line in 2016 is €218 per week. Therefore, the Government needs to set welfare rates at the poverty line to begin with. This will immediately go some way in benefiting those who are struggling with the increased cost of living and the additional taxes and charges imposed by Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil.

“Every person in receipt of social welfare should receive a payment that provides them with a basic standard of living. The Minister’s proposals are just one step in the right direction.”  

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