Tuesday 23 January 2018

Burton: Garda checkpoints on estates to weed out welfare cheats

Officers will target people claiming benefits while going to work – and will also target airports

GARDAI are to set up checkpoints on industrial estates and at airports in an attempt to weed out social welfare cheats.

Social Protection minister Joan Burton has confirmed that gardai will be taken on by her department directly to tackle the issue.

She has set herself a target of €710m in fraud savings this year.

Speaking to Pat Kenny on Newstalk this morning, the Minister said that the gardai will be on the look out for people claiming benefits while also working. 

“I don’t think there’s any such thing as an acceptable level (of social welfare fraud)... we’ve made huge strides,” she said.

“We will be taking on a number of gardai directly into the Department of Social Welfare for a period of time to concentrate on areas like airports.

“People who may be coming in and out in relation to still claiming benefits. That’s 50/50 Irish people and people who came from abroad

“We will also be looking at areas like checkpoints in estates and on roads early in the morning as people who otherwise are claiming benefits are actually in fact  going off to work – either self employed or working and not declaring it.”

While Ms Burton said "estates", she later insisted that she meant industrial estates rather than housing estates.

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