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Change to Leo's campaign: Only those convicted of fraud over €5,000 to have names published

The names will be published on a quarterly basis on the Department of Social Protection’s website.

Leo Varadkar at the launch of his well-known welfare cheats campaign.
Leo Varadkar at the launch of his well-known welfare cheats campaign.
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

ONLY THE NAMES of individuals convicted of fraud in excess of €5,000 will be published under the new Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Bill 2017.

The names will be published on a quarterly basis on the Department of Social Protection’s website. The list of names will be removed after three months.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (then Social Protection Minister) first announced the publication of the new Social Welfare Bill in May, as part of his well-known ‘Welfare Cheats Cheat Us All’ campaign.

No mention of the extent of the fraud had been included.

A statement from the department to TheJournal.ie today, however, confirmed the change.

Since taking over the ministerial role, Regina Doherty has discussed the content of the Bill with Fianna Fáil and, in light of those discussions, has agreed the government will support an amendment which will provide that only the names of individuals convicted of fraud in excess of €5,000 would be published.

It’s understood the Fianna Fáil amendment was included to ensure that persons who fall under that limit do not have their names published. However, those that fall under the €5,000 limit will still have to repay the money.

The party was concerned that some people could be punished if they were receiving additional payments in error.

Pensions

Also included in the Social Welfare Bill 2017 are provisions related to allowing for more certainty to those on defined benefit pensions.

Employers who offer defined benefit pension schemes will, under this new legislation, be required to give 12 months’ notice if they intend to cease contributions.

When a scheme is in deficit, employers and trustees will be required to enter into discussions to agree a funding proposal before the 12-month period expires.

It also introduces a time limit of six months for trustees of a defined benefit scheme which is in deficit to submit a funding proposal to the Pensions Authority from the date of the actuarial funding certificate.

Thirdly, it gives powers to the Pensions Authority to determine a schedule of contributions that will restore these schemes to an adequate funding positions.

The Bill is due to be published on the 7 July.   

Originally posted at 7.30pm

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