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Crowe criticises widows' welfare cuts

24 March, 2004

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Social, Community and Family Affairs Seán Crowe TD tonight strongly criticised the Government's cuts in welfare for widows and widowers when he spoke in favour of the Private Members' motion to reverse these cuts.

Deputy Crowe said:

"This Government has chosen to follow a path that will inevitably hurt the less well off and most vulnerable sections of Irish society. The Government have made choices that have widened the gap between rich and poor. The question that the widows and widowers might legitimately ask is when has this Government, when faced with a choice, ever stood up to the rich and powerful in Irish society. Ordinary working people are being daily ground down with increases in essentials like food, electricity, accommodation, fuel, insurance and healthcare. The St Vincent de Paul has said that the number of calls for assistance to its Dublin office has increased a staggering 94% in the last twelve months.

"Widows and widowers who have worked hard all their lives are now faced with a situation where they might lose their job or become seriously ill and find that this Government has removed their welfare entitlements.

"Local constituents have contacted me about these cuts, people who have suddenly discovered the effect of the sneaky, hard-edge cuts that the Minister introduced at the end of last year. At the stroke of a pen, she ripped away and erased their hard-won entitlements.

Meanwhile, the other side of Irish society is legalised tax evasion for the rich - so many tax breaks that Minister McCreevy doesn't even know the cost of them all. This is simply taxcuts for the wealthy, welfare cuts for the workers." ENDS

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