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Justice minister Helen McEntee did not indicate what the scale of the impact could be as of now. © RollingNews.ie
Daily Expenses Allowance

Means-testing asylum seekers aims to ensure system is fair, says McEntee

An impact assessment would determine the number of people

THE PLANNED MEANS test on payments to people seeking or in receipt of protection from the State aims to make sure the system is fair and equal to all types of applicants, justice minister Helen McEntee has said.

Details published by the government yesterday outlined plans to means test the Daily Expenses Allowance – which is paid on a weekly basis to people seeking protection – is set at a rate of €38.80 per week for an adult and €29.80 per week for a child.

Speaking to RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland, McEntee defended the means test and claimed that its goal is to make the Daily Expenses Allowance an equal payment to those who have the right to seek protection from the State.

The plan to conduct a means test has been largely welcomed, with leading opposition party Sinn Féin calling for the scope of the test to be broadened.

But an impact assessment – which would determine the number of people who could be impacted by this test – has yet to be carried out.

The lack of an impact assessment gives very little detail to the Government and payees about who could be severely affected by the measure. In any decision, however, a cut to payments can still later be legally challenged by the recipient.

McEntee said this morning that the Department of Social Protection is currently examining the relevant data for the assessment, but did not indicate what the scale of the impact could be as of now.

She added that the means test is also aiming to identify those who are also eligible to work in the country and to make sure the cohort are not receiving higher payments than others who do not have that right.

People arriving to Ireland who seek protection are eligible to work six months after they submit their application for protection.

Though an additional payment of €75 – given to those seeking protection who are not offered State-provided accommodation – is not being means tested, McEntee said that those who have the means to house and fund themselves should not be on a higher rate.

McEntee said: “We need to make sure that our rules are fair, and that they apply across the board. This is not about how many we can take out of the system, this is about making sure that we have a fair system that applies to people equally across the board.”

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