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Social Protection Minister backtracking ‘most unwelcome’ – Mitchell

3 August, 2016 - by Denise Mitchell TD

Sinn Féin Junior Spokesperson for Social Protection has said that comments yesterday by Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar that there was ‘limited scope’ for a rise in social welfare rates is most unwelcome.

Denise Mitchell TD for Dublin Bay North said:

“This comes as a major turnaround by the Minister.  Just two weeks ago, Minister Varadkar proposed index linking social welfare payments to the cost of living which would have been a new policy initiative. However now he comments in fact there may be no rises at all in rates, and a stagnation of social welfare payments. It seems a radical change of mind.

“I have stated before to the Minister in the Dáil that he needs to see beyond figures and terms and to connect to the reality of people’s lives. He also needs to consider commitments his party and Fianna Fáil have made in the programme for government, as well as considering those in general who are most affected by previous austerity cuts.

“We have to view any possible inertia in social welfare payments in the context of the wider economy. Ireland has one of the highest childcare costs in the OECD; there are 750,000 living in poverty and according to Social Justice Ireland, most weekly social assistance rates paid to single people are €30 below the poverty line. The comments by the Minster indicate a lack of connection to reality by both him and his Government.” 

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