Department Admits Welfare Cheats Campaign 'A Mistake ' - David Cullinane TD
At the Public Accounts Committee this morning, the Secretary General of the Department of Social Protection admitted that the 'Welfare Cheats Cheat Us All' campaign was ill-advised, was a mistake, and was targeted at a problem that is 70 percent lower than the public statistics portray.
Deputy David Cullinane, Sinn Féin member of the PAC, said;
"The Department of Social Protection lumps fraud and error into one figure. when I asked the Secretary General for a breakdown of these figures he admitted that fraud only accounts for around 30 percent of the overall figure.
"In other words, the actual level of fraud in the social welfare system is not 2% but somewhere around 0.6%.
"He then went on to admit that using the word 'cheats' in relation to welfare payments was 'a mistake'.
"Such a word gives the impression that people on social welfare are untrustworthy and not in need of social support.
"I call on Taoiseach Varadkar to clarify whether he agrees with the Department of Social Protection and to state whether he also believes the campaign he launched earlier this year was a mistake."