July 27, 2020
Punishing welfare recipients for holidaying abroad exposes ‘warped priorities’ of Government – Claire Kerrane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection Claire Kerrane TD has criticised the policy of performing airport checks to stop pandemic unemployment payments to people travelling abroad.

Teachta Kerrane said: “I want to reiterate that people should not be travelling abroad unless their journey is essential. If possible, people should take a staycation at home this year instead of going overseas, so that we can all minimise the risk of Covid-19 resurging.

“However, I am deeply concerned that the Department of Social Protection is performing checks on people at airports in order to identify people on pandemic unemployment income supports and stop payments if they holiday abroad.

“It suggests misguided and warped priorities from this Government that they should focus on penalising those who are the worst off financially.

“It continues an unfair and inaccurate obsession which many Government ministers seem to have with ‘punishing’ those on social welfare. Meanwhile, people on higher incomes do not face the same threats.

“This policy adds to the ongoing confusion and chaos which have characterised the travel ‘green list’ from the start. People are being told not to go abroad, then told they can do so. They are told they will be punished financially for going, but only if they are in receipt of income supports. 

“People are understandably confused by the chaotic messages coming from Government about international travel. The Government needs to ensure its international travel policy is clear, evidence-based and fair for all.

“The Government has consistently failed to put in place a proper test and trace system at airports to control the virus; such as testing, temperature checks and proper enforcement of quarantine. We are now in a ludicrous position whereby some of the only checks taking place at airports are about social welfare. This is misguided and unfair.”

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