Ireland’s social protection minister said there should be no one in the country who cannot put bread on the table, but refused to commit to any further supports before the budget.
Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys said she understood householders and families are struggling with the rise in cost of living, and urged those in difficulty to contact their local welfare officer.
The Government has refused to confirm whether it will bring in further measures to help relieve the financial pressure on families and householders before October’s budget.
Last week, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said the Government is working on proposals to target the rising cost of childcare and public transport.
Mr Varadkar said there are areas in the cost-of-living crisis where the Government can do more.
Ms Humphreys said she will speak to stakeholders next month about how the government can target those who are most in need.
“Of course as Minister for Social Protection I’m always going to be looking for support and as I said the budget will target those who are most in need,” she said on Wednesday.
“For people who find themselves in really difficult circumstances, we have the Urgent Needs Payments.
“That is the state’s safety net for anybody that finds themselves in difficulty.
“There should be nobody in this country that can’t put bread on the table.
“The social protection office is there to help you.
“That’s what we want to do and if anybody has difficulty, go to the local community welfare officer and I really want to get that message out there.
We know that it's difficult out there and we know that people are facing choices, choices that they have to make in terms of their income.Heather Humphreys
“That’s what we’re here to do. We’re here to help people.”
The government has come under pressure to bring in more measures to help people who are struggling with higher prices of food, transport and general day-to-day living costs.
Ms Humphreys said the government has invested two billion in supports since February.
“We know that it’s difficult out there and we know that people are facing choices, choices that they have to make in terms of their income,” she added.
“We have brought in a lot of supports. In terms of my own department we brought in that 125 euro lump sum last March for the fuel allowance, and only last week we paid another 100 euros in a lump sum for the fuel allowance.
“We have the 200 euro electricity credit and then of course the reduction in the cost of the diesel and the excise duty on the diesel and on the petrol.
“We have done a lot and we’ll certainly be looking at this as we start now to prepare for the budget in October.”
She added: “I know it’s difficult, certainly but what I’m saying for specific instances where people are find themselves in huge difficulty, the community welfare officer is there.”