Thursday 8 December 2016

Varadkar to give welfare top-ups

Published 08/05/2016 | 02:30

President Michael D Higgins, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar at Áras an Uachtaráin.
President Michael D Higgins, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar at Áras an Uachtaráin.

Newly appointed social protection minister Leo Varadkar said he plans to reverse austerity welfare cuts introduced during the economic crisis.

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Speaking on his appointment, Mr Varadkar said he will "restore some of the cutbacks to social welfare payments" as he inherits a department with a spending surplus of close to €200m.

However, sources close to the minister insisted welfare cuts will only be reversed within budgetary spending limits and along with a clampdown on dole cheats.

Yesterday, Mr Varadkar played down suggestions that Taoiseach Enda Kenny demoted him in Cabinet but admitted the appointment "may well be a sideways move".

Mr Kenny's ministerial appointments for his historic second term as Taoiseach have opened up the field in the race to succeed him as the next leader of Fine Gael.

Promotions for Frances Fitzgerald, Paschal Donohoe Simon Coveney and Simon Harris have led to suggestions the leadership contest will be a dogfight.

Sunday Independent

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