Willie O'Dea one of four TDs to see what life is like on the dole for new TV show
Published 16/04/2015 | 12:23
Willie O’Dea is one of four TDs who will attempt to spend time with constituents struggling to survive on social welfare for a TV documentary.
TV3 series ‘Dáil on the Dole’ will feature Fianna Fáil's Willie (Limerick City), Fine Gael's Catherine Byrne (Dublin South Central), Willie O’Dea Limerick City), Labour's Joanna Tuffy (Dublin Mid West) and Independent TD John Halligan (Waterford).
One TD features every week and is paired up with people in their constituency who are surviving on social welfare so they can get a better understanding of their day-to-day lives.
Given many Irish people on the dole believe their elected representatives have no clue what life is like for them and TDs believing they work harder than anyone, it's likely there will be conflict.
The TDs will try to experience life on the dole by planning a budget for the week, attempting to bills and buy food, battling sub-standard housing and trying to access Government assistance.
The first episode sees Fine Gael TD Catherine Byrne meeting single mum Laura Spencer who has two daughters living with her in a sub-standard flat in the inner city.
“I’m looking forward to, for that sense it may give people another insight in to what they believe is a stereotype politician that we aren’t," says Catherine.
"We’re human beings. We’re mothers. We’re fathers. We have children. We have lives that we weave in and out of when we’re not doing our public duty.
"Anything new is worth doing I believe, the process will help people to understand that public representatives on the ground do do their work and above all connect with the people.”
Single mum Laura has returned to college to study Culinary Arts at DIT and is trying to juggle the demands of college with the pressures of being a single mum surviving on a social welfare payment.
Catherine also returned to college to study Culinary Arts as a mature student with children so she understands Laura’s daily struggle.
Laura enlists Catherine’s help to deal with the council to address the unacceptable damp problem in her flat.
‘Dáil on the Dole’ episode 1 airs this Monday (20th April) at 9pm on TV3.