Saturday 20 January 2018

Hopes minister's slip on dole figure is sign of 'increase to come in budget'

Regina Doherty Photo: Gerry Mooney
Regina Doherty Photo: Gerry Mooney
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

Employment and Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty raised eyebrows this week when she claimed she could not live on the dole but did not cite the correct figure for dole payments.

Speaking earlier this week, the minister said she couldn't live on the social welfare payment of €198 a week.

 “I don’t know where people get the view that people who are living on welfare are living the life of Riley because, Jaysus, I couldn’t live on €198 a week, and that’s being honest,” she said.

However, the current social welfare payment is €193 a week.

Ms Doherty refused to comment on the reason behind the slip and refused to clarify if she didn't know what the dole payment was or if she inadvertently revealed an upcoming rise in the payment ahead of the budget when contacted by Independent.ie

Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Social Protection Willie O’Dea, said Ms O'Doherty's claims were "likely to be a hint, that social welfare will be raised in the next budget".

Mr O'Dea said it was unlikely Ms Doherty didn't know the correct figure for the social welfare and said it was probably "an indication of a social welfare increase".

"I would certainly welcome an increase in social welfare payments. It is very much needed," he said.

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