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Joan Burton criticised over welfare 'lifestyle choice' comments

Sinn Féin described the Minister’s comments as “galling” – saying that the government had failed to create jobs for the unemployed.

Image: asko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

SINN FÉIN HAS criticised the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton for suggesting that some school leavers were claiming social welfare as a “lifestyle choice”.

Sinn Féin’s Social Protection Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh described Burton’s comments as “outrageous”, saying:

It is particularly galling to hear these comments at a time when the government has not filled even one of its promised additional 15,000 positions in training, work experience and educational opportunities for the unemployed.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland this morning, Burton said her department would be targeting those who were claiming welfare payments as a “lifestyle choice”. She said that those who refuse to take up job or training opportunities would have their payments cut by as much as €44 per week.

“If somebody is 14 or 15 years of age, and perhaps they’re not doing very well in school, what happens in the current climate of jobs, they tend to drift out of school and end up not working (and become) dependent on social welfare,” Burton said.

However, Ó Snodaigh rejected the Minister’s comments, saying: “The fact of the matter is that there are no jobs out there.  The best way to lower the social welfare bill is to create jobs.  This is where the government’s focus should be rather than on further punishing those who are dependent on social welfare.”

The Irish National Organisation for the Unemployed has also said that the minister should be focusing on job creation, and criticised the government for not providing adequate information on training and education opportunities for unemployed young people.

Do you agree with Joan Burton’s assertion that some people are claiming social welfare as a “lifestyle choice”?

Poll Results:

Yes (944)
No (348)

Read: New rules mean 55 people have dole cut with more to come >

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