May 13, 2024
Review needs to deliver a roadmap for the reduction of Ukrainian refugee payments – Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD, has commented on reports that the government is conducting a review of payments to people seeking international protection.

Speaking today, the Cork South Central TD repeated his view that there should be a tapering of social welfare payments for those from Ukraine in preparing for the end of the Temporary Protection Directive next March.

Teachta Ó Laoghaire said:

“There have been reports today that the Minister for Public Expenditure is undertaking a review of payments for people seeking international protection.

“The Temporary Protection directive is concluding next March and cannot be extended. Currently there are people currently on full social welfare rates, but who will most likely be on the direct provision payment if they do not have a work visa. There needs to be a tapering of the payments at intervals to avoid a cliff edge.

“People who have arrived here seeking protection from the Russian war in Ukraine deserve our protection, and to be supported, and the people of Ireland have responded remarkably.

“However, for some time now I have been making the point that failing to prepare for the future helps no one. The uncertainty is not acceptable. The government appears to have conceded the principle of this, but have done nothing

“Even in recent weeks, during a Dáil debate Heather Humphreys, Minister for Social Protection said: ‘I have already signalled that I do not think it is sustainable long-term that people would get their accommodation provided for and receive full social welfare payments.’

“There seems to be an attitude that there is plenty of time. That isn’t the case. The Directive ends next March. There needs to be a roadmap. Reports today suggests that this review will be short and decisions made quickly but we in Sinn Féin have already been flagging this for months. 

“In general, social welfare and international protection payments should be totally separate. Payments for people seeking asylum should be not be through the mainstream social welfare system

“Payments do need to make sense in terms of international comparisons, but must also ensure they are adequate and that people have a decent standard of living. 

“We hope the Minister will be transparent about any review. We have called on the government to provide a roadmap for people from Ukraine. It doesn’t make sense that the full rate of social welfare is still on offer to majority of those already here. Government should provide certainty and avoid a cliff edge by tapering these payments.”

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