Less than half of the workforce pay into a pension - a huge crisis looms with so many relying on State
Published 09/06/2016 | 02:30
The job of the last government was to fix the economy and avoid national bankruptcy. The economy is now recovering strongly but we also have a deeply fragmented society.
The new Government allows us to consider the kind of economy and society we want to build. We should strive for an enterprise economy built on sound public finances, which prospers from the goods and services we sell at home and trade abroad. One in which work - not speculation - pays, and which rewards innovation.
I believe in a welfare state that provides a safety net for those who need it, that gives everyone a fair go with opportunities to better their lives, but doesn't trap people in a cycle of poverty and dependency. It's a vision of a European social market economy, where a strong society feeds a strong economy in a virtuous cycle. That's why I am excited by the challenge of being Minister for Social Protection. This Department touches so many lives, and almost every home in Ireland: through pensions, child benefit, support for jobseekers, lone parents, carers, people with disabilities, low-income working families, maternity benefits, sick pay and many other areas.