Archive for May, 2010

Opposition Comments on Social Welfare Bill Two Faced

The changes proposed in the Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2010 are long overdue.  As Minister O’Cuiv highlighted last month in Galway, one of the big things that genuinely unemployed people complain about is forced inactivity. The Minister promised he would tackle this problem quickly, having for many years argued that enforced idleness was not a great policy.

The Government spends about €4.2 billion annually on unemployment payments with a further €0.5 billion on activation. This bill is part of the Minster’s strategy to use activation measures to differentiate between those who are genuine jobseekers and those who may not be genuinely unemployed and use savings arising from this approach to create more activation and opportunities for people to be gainfully involved in community work and so on.

The reaction of the main opposition parties to this bill is a continuation of their two faced policies, sending contradictory messages as to what they would do to different audiences.

In March 2010 at his party conference, FG’s leader, Enda Kenny, complained about borrowing billions to subsidise idleness and dependency for unemployed people.  Yet his party’s spokesperson now complains about the very measures her leader called for.

On 5th November 2009 Labour’s leader, Eamon Gilmore, stated on RTE’s The Panel progamme that “there is a requirement to get any dole payment that you have to be available for work or available for education or whatever, and if someone doesn’t comply with that you don’t pay them”, which is in direct contradiction to his party’s spokesperson on Social and Family affairs.

Just as with the Croke Park agreement, Labour is again talking out of both sides of its mouth in a desperate bid to buy votes.

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Proposed Changes to Lone Parent Allowance

Regretablly there has been much misinformation regarding the Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2010, needlessly causing concern to people.

The factual position is as follows:

For new customers applying for the One-Parent Family payment from April 2011, it is proposed that the payment will be made to them until the youngest child reaches age 13 years. (If however the customer is in receipt of a Domiciliary Care Allowance for that child, the One-Parent Family payment will continue until the child reaches 16 years of age and claims Disability Allowance in their own right).

The vast majority of new customers for the One-Parent Family payment are parents of new born babies therefore the changes in the payment from April 2011 will not affect them until 2024.

There is also a special provision for both married and co-habiting persons who are recently bereaved and who have children aged 13 years or older. They will continue to receive the payment for up to 2 years or until their child is 18 years old to enable them to come to terms with their changed circumstances.

For existing customers of the One-Parent Family payment, there will be a tapered six year phasing out period to enable them to access education and training, to help prepare them for their return to the labour market. Therefore the age 13 cut off point will only come in to effect for existing customers, six years from now which is 2016.  For existing customers, the age 18 cut off point will remain for 2011 and 2012. In 2013 it will be 17 years, in 2014, 16 years, in 2015, 15 years and in 2016, 13 years.

If the child is in full time education there is also a special provision for existing One-Parent Family payment recipients. In this case, payment will continue until the end of the 2012 – 2013 academic year or until the child reaches age 22 – whichever is the earlier.

These changes will bring Ireland’s support for lone parents more into line with international provisions, where there is a general movement away from long-term and passive income support.

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Bias in "The Big Opinion"

Letter to Wicklow People regarding their new “The Big Opinion” section:

I welcome your new “The Big Opinion” section, however was disappointed to see that your usual high standards of objective reporting were absent, in that the vast majority of it was anti Government, populist nonsense!

Continue reading Bias in "The Big Opinion"…

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Protest at the Dáil

Irish Times published my letter today:

Madam, – Watching the so-called “storming” of the Dáil (Home News, May 13th) and then listening to the pathetic apologists on radio the next day was utterly sickening.

Pseudo-socialists like Richard Boyd Barrett are merely damaging the international reputation of this country and its ability to borrow the €400 million a week to pay for the social services and the welfare for many of the people he claims he represents.

Legitimate debate is welcome.  However, cowardly attacks on our hard-won democracy are not.

What right do these people have to put the rights and economic future of law-abiding citizens at risk merely because they are economically illiterate? Rather than attacking the Dáil they should formulate an alternative and put that before the people and see if they get elected.

The loony left-wing anarchists in Greece burned three innocent people, including a pregnant woman, to death. Shame on anyone who claims to support the actions of these murderers.

Have these people forgotten the damage political violence did to this country? – Yours, etc

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