Department of Social Protection considering Sinn Féin Bill aimed at tackling poverty – John Brady TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Employment Affairs & Social Protection John Brady TD has welcomed Minister Regina Doherty’s consideration of his Bill to establish a Social Welfare Commission which he introduced last year.
Speaking following questions with the Minister earlier today, Teachta Brady said:
“We know that there are currently 760,000 people in Ireland living below the poverty line. A truly damning indictment of this Government at a time when they speak of economic recovery.
“The truth is employment is no longer a guaranteed pathway out of poverty and for those relying on social welfare, rates are simply not adequate for far too many households and this is leading to deprivation for our most vulnerable households.
“The Sinn Féin Bill seeks the establishment of a Social Welfare Commission that would examine the minimum essential income standard for different household types and recommend the necessary rate increases in social welfare payments to the Minister ahead of the Budget each year.
“We cannot ensure that we protect our most vulnerable households from poverty by simply index-linking instead we must ensure adequacy as outlined in our Bill.
"At the last pre-Budget Forum hosted by the Minister, we know that numerous stakeholders put adequacy as key when it comes to setting social welfare rates. This cannot be ignored.
“I welcome the fact that the Minister and her Department are considering this Bill as part of their plans for setting social welfare rates. I also welcome her engagement with stakeholders on this matter following a successful Sinn Féin amendment to the Social Welfare Bill last year.
“We need action on poverty now and this Bill has a part to play in eradicating it.”