Social welfare cuts scandalous and cowardly – Ó Snodaigh
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Social Protection Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has slammed the proposed cuts to the fuel allowance and household benefits package labelling them “scandalous and cowardly”.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh said
“It is an absolute scandal that this Government is targeting the most vulnerable in our society so soon after promising to protect them. The fact that the Minister sat through a two hour Oireachtas committee meeting yesterday without so much as mentioning her impending attack on older people and the poor highlights how cowardly this government is. Indeed when I questioned her on the flagged energy price hikes she assured me that the Department would be subsuming their impact.
“The Government have announced a cut to the electricity allowance for older people of 25% in the same week that Bord Gáis have flagged a price hike of at least 10%. Likewise they are cutting the gas allowance by nearly 20% when a price hike of up to 30% has been flagged.
“I called to many darkened homes during the general election canvas last February. Older people especially were already turning their lights off because they simply could not afford to keep them on. These Government cuts will condemn many thousands of people to a bleaker and darker winter.
“If the Government wants to make savings in this area it should intervene in the market and prevent the various energy price hikes that have been flagged.
“The Programme for Government promised to maintain social welfare rates. This announcement does the opposite. This demonstrates that any promise contained in the Programme for Government that was published just 3 months ago is not worth the paper is printed on.”