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Editing welfare guidelines ‘disingenuous gaslighting’ – Claire Kerrane TD

27 July, 2020 - by Claire Kerrane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection Claire Kerrane TD has criticised as shocking and disingenuous the decision to change social welfare guidelines today to retroactively reflect comments made by the Tánaiste yesterday.

Media reports suggest that the guidelines for pandemic unemployment income support were edited online today to now alter guidelines on whether recipients can holiday abroad, in light of the Tánaiste’s controversial comments over the weekend that recipients would not receive the payment if taking a holiday.

Teachta Kerrane said: “I am shocked by reports that the criteria for pandemic unemployment income appear to have been edited today, to retroactively corroborate the Tánaiste’s comments. 

“It is genuinely shocking that a Government department would behave in such a fundamentally disingenuous way. It is totally inappropriate for a Department to attempt to gaslight the public in order to reflect the Tánaiste’s version of events. 

“It is insulting to recipients of the welfare payments, many of whom have lost their jobs in extremely difficult circumstances and are trying their best to follow these guidelines in good faith. 

“Editing guidelines in an attempt to give credibility to comments made by the Tánaiste is inexcusable and undermines people's ability to trust the department. 

“The Department of Social Protection needs to urgently explain what has happened. 

“From the start, the Government’s handling of the travel ‘green list’ has been chaotic and confusing. People are trying their best to following guidelines but at every turn the Government has been ambiguous, obfuscating and now outright disingenuous.  

“People deserve clear, evidence-based information, not spin and dishonesty.”

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