Assurance needed on pandemic unemployment payment level

06 May 2020

Labour spokesperson on Social Protection Ged Nash TD has called for assurances for workers that their income supports will continue until sectors are fully reopened, after the Minister for Finance failed to commit to maintaining it.

Deputy Nash said:

“Speaking on Morning Ireland the Minister for Finance failed to give any certainty on future income levels to workers who have been left out of work due to no fault of their own.

“The Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment expires in a few weeks. Nearly 600,000 people are reliant on it right now but many of those will be able to return to work over coming weeks, but many others won’t.

“The Minister said it would continue in ‘a’ form but he specifically mentioned the level of the payment as something that would have to be considered. That means a cut to incomes. He went on to describe this as ‘changes to the payment that are affordable’.

“Ten of thousands of workers did not choose to stop working. Ireland needs to give a clear commitment to workers now that supports will remain until sectors are fully reopened and they should be no worse off having lost their job due to the actions of the State in shutting down the economy.

“We are all in this effort together to stop Covid-19, and solidarity should not be abandoned now for those who can least afford it.

“From media comments over recent days it is clear that Ministers are considering how to cut payments which is deeply ironic coming the day after the May bank holiday, a weekend associated with the celebration of the worker.

“If that is the plan of the Fine Gael caretaker government they should be honest with people and come out and say so now.”

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