Welfare traps like ours are devilishly hard to get out of
The boom by-passed a huge swathe of households locked in long-term welfare dependency. It is a national scandal that is under-discussed, writes Dan O'Brien
Social welfare safety nets are among the greatest products of economic development. They prevent and alleviate human misery and give people the security of knowing that if they fall on hard times they have a safety net to fall into.
But they can also have negative consequences if they are poorly designed. People can end up trapped in the net rather than being helped to get out of it.
There is considerable evidence that Ireland's system has been particularly damaging, and that it has condemned many more people to long-term welfare dependency than is the case in peer countries.