Unanswered questions for Department of Social Protection 

Seán Sherlock TD
27 July 2020

With the Department of Social Protection tracking people going abroad and stopping their payments, Labour Social Protection spokesperson Seán Sherlock said there were unanswered questions that the Minister should address, and questioned why the government is singling out social welfare recipients for punishment if they travel abroad.

Deputy Sherlock said:

“We don’t know why the government has singled out only social welfare recipients, and not anyone else travelling abroad to be financially punished.

“We need a full explanation from the Minister about how this data is collected, who collects it, does she have access to the data of everyone leaving the State?

“The scale of the checks required would indicate that the State is collecting the names and personal details of everyone leaving the State. If that is the case then we urgently need detail from the Minister about what protections are in place, and how data protection law is complied with.

“The clear advice is not to travel unless it is essential travel, but it’s not clear what criteria the Department is applying, as the regulations appear to be cutting off anyone receiving a payment who travels abroad. What if the travel is essential?

“The government have managed to deploy resources to check if people leaving the country are unemployed, but they haven’t been able to adequately follow up on those arriving here, or test them on arrival for Covid-19.

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