We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar Eamonn Farrell/
Leo Varadkar

Varadkar proposes tying welfare payments to inflation

The Social Welfare Minister called for people receiving welfare to “never again see their standard of living eroded or falling behind society in general”.

MINISTER FOR SOCIAL Protection Leo Varadkar has thrown his political weight behind indexing welfare payments to inflation.

Speaking at MacGill Summer School in Donegal, the Dublin TD struck a socially aware tone throughout his speech – referring to the period of economic downturn as “Ireland’s lost decade” and bemoaning a stalling in living standards.

“Were it not for social welfare payments… over half of the country would be at risk of poverty,” he said, before he emphasised the need to “protect the value of these payments now and into the future”.

“I believe this can best be done by indexing weekly social welfare payments to the cost of living or to average earnings, and enshrining that principle in legislation,” he said.

The Minister said he hoped this would create a system where people receiving welfare payments would “never again see their standard of living eroded or falling behind society in general”.

Varadkar said that he was also confident that he could secure cross-party support for the change and bring it through in the lifetime of the current Dáil.

Will it happen?

It can often be the case that what politicians say at the MacGill Summer School and what they end up doing back in Dublin can be two different things.

However, Varadkar’s comments have been given a warm welcome by social equality groups, who believe it is a move that would result in stronger support for those relying on welfare payments.

“We support the Minister’s review of the pension system,” said Sean Moynihan, CEO of older person’s charity ALONE.

The majority of older people who come to us for assistance are heavily reliant on welfare to survive and they live in constant fear of any future cuts that may be made.
We believe that tying the state pension to inflation would allow older people to maintain their independence, reducing strain on hospital and nursing homes.
The proposal was also welcomed by Sinn Féins spokesperson for social protection John Brady, who described it as “one step in the right direction”.

Read: Eight towns and cities chosen for €100m social housing plan of 450 homes

Also: Bishop compares abortion to involuntary Nazi euthanasia programme

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.