Taoiseach refuses to give concrete assurance that income supports won't be cut - Mary Lou McDonald
Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald has strongly criticised the refusal of Taoiseach Micheál Martin to give a clear answer regarding the continuation of full income supports for workers and businesses beyond the end of June.
Ms McDonald told An Taoiseach that the government's plan for reopening must contain an absolute assurance that the PUP and wage subsidy scheme will be maintained for as long as public health restrictions prevent people from going to work, and businesses from operating.
Teachta McDonald said:
"The Taoiseach refused to give concrete assurance to workers and businesses who have been prevented from earning over the last year and who have struggled enormously.
"The very least they deserve is certainty that the supports on which they depend won't be cut while public health restrictions remain in place.
"Instead of giving that needed clarity and being straight up with people, the Taoiseach chose to play a game of semantics.
"We all want the economy and business to reopen, and people will naturally come off income supports. However, workers and businesses in sectors that haven't reopened, and may not reopen in a speedy fashion, need to know that they are not facing cuts or reductions of any sort come July.
"It is only fair that for so long as people cannot go to work, or businesses cannot reopen due to public health advice, that those workers, business and families will retain the full support afforded to them.
"The Taoiseach failed to give that commitment and this will only add to the stress of workers and businesses, who see their income and ability to earn collapse through no fault of their own.
"It is not lost on people that this uncertainty and kite-flying is coming from a government that has had no problem dishing out massive pay hikes for top civil servants, super junior ministers and judges.
"Ordinary people already struggling to make ends meet cannot be made to pay for this crisis.
"When he makes his announcement tomorrow, the Taoiseach must give a guarantee that income supports will be maintained in full for as long as public health restrictions are in place."