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Varadkar’s talk on reversing cuts ‘merely part of leadership campaign’ – Brady

18 May, 2017 - by John Brady TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has said that Minister Leo Varadkar’s new found concern for the impact that cuts his party have implemented are “a bit late in the day”.

Speaking after the Committee for Social Protection meeting this morning, Teachta Brady said:

“Minister Varadkar announced a number of intentions as regards Budget 2018 for spending in Social Protection, including consideration of restoring the Telephone Allowance and Bereavement Grant. 

“It is no coincidence that, on the first official day of his leadership campaign, Minister Varadkar talks about reversing two of the harshest cuts implemented by his party which impacted some of the most vulnerable people in the State.

“Of course, the Minister could have reversed these cuts in the last Budget; he could have brought in a lesser Bereavement Grant payment as the first step to re-introducing it in full or a similar measure for the Telephone Allowance, but he chose not to.

“With this, the Minister also announced his intention to increase the Back to School Clothing & Footwear Allowance by 25% with the savings made from his recent social welfare fraud campaign. He reckons that savings of about €10 million would cover this increase.

“Given the fact that the Minister continues to use a savings figure of €506 million due to ‘anti-fraud and control measures[‘ made in 2016 when the actual figure is €41 million, I could not even begin to imagine the figure he will conjure up for the so-called savings his campaign will generate.

 “Unfortunately for Minister Varadkar, people’s memories are not that short and the Minister’s new found interest particularly, in restoring the Telephone Allowance and the Bereavement Grant all of a sudden will be seen for what it is; nothing more than words, merely part of his leadership campaign.

“Minister Varadkar has stood over the harshest of cuts imposed on our most vulnerable citizens, the impact of which he did not care about then and certainly does not now.” 

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