Regina Doherty to continue Dept of Social Protection crusade on welfare fraud

Regina Doherty to continue Dept of Social Protection crusade on welfare fraud
The President Michael D.Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with his New Cabinet yesterday. Pic: Maxwells

The newly appointed Minister for Social Protection and Employment, Regina Doherty, said she will be following through with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's mission to clamp down on welfare cheats.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Ms Doherty said "anybody who's claiming money that they shouldn't be claiming that would deny other people who should be claiming the money is obviously going to be a priority".

She said: "I think it's interesting that every single TD yesterday from the left stood up and challenged the Taoiseach over that [welfare fraud] campaign when it's defrauding money from the State.

"There's nearly an acceptance by the left that if it's vulnerable people that are doing it we should turn a blind eye to it."

She added that she was "very excited" by the new role, saying her main aim was ensuring that money is made available to those who need it most.

Ms Doherty said: "The Taoiseach said to me that I need to make sure that any budgets that we have in the future are progressive."

Yesterday, Varadkar announced his Cabinet in full, which meet today for the first time.

Ms Doherty also said Mr Varadkar "did his best" when picking his Cabinet.

Regina Doherty to continue Dept of Social Protection crusade on welfare fraud

The Taoiseach has been criticised over the lack of women.

There was also a demotion for prominent female Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor, who was dropped from her jobs portfolio to super junior for Higher Education.

But Ms Doherty says Varadkar tried to be balanced.

She said: "At the end of the day, I suppose, it is the Taoiseach's choice, he said yesterday or the day before that he was going to choose not only on ability but also on geography and gender.

"I think he has done the best that he can do. The western seaboard obviously needed to be looked after given the loss of An Taoiseach and Michael Noonan, so I don't think we have any women over that neck of the woods."


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