The Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton TD will address the inaugural meeting of the Alliance of Social Protection Recipients which will take place on this Friday the 19th of October 2013 at the Temple Gate Hotel in Ennis.

The Alliance is being formed to give a voice and a platform to people in Clare who avail of social protection payments and services.

The new Alliance is calling on the Minister to set up consultative groups in each region that will have over 60% of its membership made up of welfare recipients. Supported by Citizens Information Centres, these groups should meet quarterly and report directly in October to the Minister on their findings.

Fridays meeting will open with five speakers outlining their own case histories. They will be followed by Paul Woulfe of Ennis Citizens Information Centre and Dennis Corbett of MABS who will speak on their experiences dealing with clients’ problems from the front line.

There are over 10,000 people on the live register in Clare and thousands more on up to 50 types of welfare payments across a wide age spectrum from children’s allowance up to the old age pension. Dermot Hayes, Chair of the Alliance of Social Protection Recipients, said that many of the rates have been cut in the last 4 years for various reasons or the rules have been changed for qualification.

Welfare recipients have come under a harsh spot light in the last few years. One of the solutions to the big crisis proposed by various well-heeled pundits in the media is that the state pays far too much in welfare,he said.

As an example, he referred to the former head of the University of Limerick Dr. Edward Walsh whose various radio interviews suggest that welfare in Ireland is too generous.

Dr. Walsh should remember that his retirement salary is generous and supported by the tax payer, added Dermot Hayes

According to Sean Healy of Social Justice Ireland, there are over 700,000 people are living in poverty while we pour €29 billion in Anglo Irish Bank. In the last report Shaping Ireland, Sean Healy says that over 200,000 children live in poverty. The average house hold income of the bottom 10% is €210 per week compared to the 10% richest households who are on  €2,276  per week.

Fuel and food increases of 7% are causing great hardship and should be a stark warning to Government. We  will have to re-examine the tax shelters that have developed over the last 15 years that allow the very wealthy to pay only nominal tax while enjoying the fruits of government spending on roads, water and other services,according to Dermot Hayes


Published: 26 June 2013