Irish largesse story on welfare makes headlines in the US
An influential US investor's newsletter, read by a large number of American traders, has expressed amazement at recent reports that one family in Ireland is receiving almost €90,000 a year in welfare payments.
Last month the figures -- released publicly by Donegal senator Jimmy Harte -- received national media coverage, including calls for an overall ceiling on welfare entitlements.
However, the information and figures have now been picked up by the 'Gartman Letter', a US conservative investment newsletter, read by traders all over the US.
It is produced by Dennis Gartman, a commodities trader who has been producing the letter since 1987.
Clients of 'The Gartman Letter' include many of the leading US banks, broking firms, mutual funds, hedge funds and energy trading companies.
The figures, published originally in the Irish Independent, explain all too well "the idiocy of the welfare state in the EU generally, and Ireland specifically'', claims the newsletter.
"If this sort of system exploitation is taking place in Ireland, we suspect there will be examples from other EU countries that shall be disturbingly similar,'' it added.
Senator Harte highlighted the case of one family who are being paid a total of €1,763 per week. The unemployed married couple, who have four children and live in Dublin, claim a range of social welfare benefits. Mr Harte, who received the information from Department of Social Protection officials, insisted €50,000 was more than enough for a family to survive on. He called for a cap on welfare payments.