Monday 18 December 2017

Social Welfare is not an ATM

Sir -- As an unemployed graduate, and also as someone who "survived" the Ireland of the Eighties, I would like to respond to the ignorant and inflammatory comments made about unemployed people in last Sunday's edition of this newspaper, by the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton.

Ms Burton's facile comment that the Department of Social Protection "is a bit like an ATM" truly exposes her appalling ignorance of the social welfare system. Ms Burton seems to be unaware that many thousands of single people have to get by on a maximum of €188 per week. This is the total weekly amount a single person can get on Jobseekers Allowance (ie, the dole). While there is the possibility of getting extra benefits, such as the Fuel Allowance, these always have strings attached, no matter how needy the claimant is.

If Ms Burton really believes social welfare "is like an ATM", then she should try living on €188 a week for three months.

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