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Dublin: 15 °C Friday 7 August, 2020

Leo Varadkar's welfare fraud measures labelled as 'a solo run' and 'a hate campaign'

The claims were made by a former department inspector today.

Minister Leo Varadkar launching the campaign.
Minister Leo Varadkar launching the campaign.
Image: Sam Boal/

A FORMER SOCIAL welfare inspector has likened the campaign against welfare fraud fronted by Minister Leo Varadkar as “a hate campaign”.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Seán O’Rourke this morning, Bernadette Gorman said she has been involved with the Department of Social Protection for 30 years and has never come across the level of fraud been claimed by the campaign.

“Fraud would come up from time-to-time but I have to say it was always very miniscule,” she said.

First and foremost I want to speak about how I was trained in the department because I don’t like where the department is going. I do think Leo Varadkar was on some sort of solo run but I don’t know what his officials were doing allowing it.

Gorman said that from her experience investigating welfare claims, “complex human stories” rather than conscious fraud are often behind welfare rules being broken.

“Over 70% of these payments are going to OAPs and disabled people, now maybe Leo Varadkar thinks that these people don’t have a vote but I can tell you OAPs do have a vote and it is a hate campaign and the statistics are incorrect,” Gorman said.

She added that in her opinion “it is all about his own bid to become leader”.

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The ‘Welfare Cheats Cheat Us All’ campaign encourages people to report others who they suspect of committing social welfare fraud. The department also hopes to publish a list of proven welfare fraudsters as part of the overall crackdown.

An advertising campaign worth €165,988 is backing the campaign, with Varadkar previously stating that such anti-fraud measures are important.

“The vast majority of people receiving payments from the Department of Social Protection are fully entitled to those payments and are compliant with the conditions. However, we take fraud very seriously and have a responsibility to taxpayers to ensure that people receive what they are entitled to,” the minister said when launching the campaign.

Read: Every three months, the government will publish the names and addresses of welfare fraudsters >

Poll: Would you report someone you suspected of welfare fraud? >

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Rónán Duffy

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