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Mothers being left without income due to Ministerial incompetence – Ó Laoghaire

10 May, 2017 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Children & Youth Affairs Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has called on Minister Leo Varadkar to resolve the issue of maternity payments as a matter of urgency.

Around 1,300 women who are already on maternity leave have not received any payments. The Department of Social Protection stated that the implementation of a new system, and the training of new staff, has resulted in the delays.

Deputy Ó Laoghaire said:

“It was reported this morning that news mothers could be languishing for up to a month without receiving payment. This situation is frankly unbelievable and unacceptable, and the Minister attitude to this displays both incompetence and arrogance.

“Minister Varadkar sees himself as the future leader of Fine Gael, and a potential Taoiseach in the near future. Yet on this occasion, he has let down thousands of women and families through incompetence, and lack of foresight. He knew this issue was coming down the tracks, yet he did nothing to act until now.

“The Minister points to the exceptional needs payment for solace, a payment which he knows perfectly well many women will not qualify for; nor would they qualify for supplementary welfare allowance.

“These women are being left without income weeks on end, at what is a very expensive time in their life. That it will be paid in arrears isn't much use to them now. This is unacceptable, and the Minister needs to take on additional staff to resolve as a matter of priority.

“The CWO should be directed to show wide degree of latitude and flexibility with regards these women and families in the interim; a measure which would alleviate some of the pressure they are set to experience.

“Minister Varadkar’s failure to deal with this promptly will be viewed as gross incompetence, and a declaration of what is to come if his leadership bid were to be successful.” 

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