No welfare cuts for next five years if Labour return to government, pledges Howlin

There will be no cuts to welfare payments over the next five years, if the Labour Party is returned to government, Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin has pledged.

The senior Labour politician said that the era of cuts was over and that a quality standard of life was needed for all, with a goal of full employment by 2018.

Mr Howlin said that the Oireachtas Inquiries referendum to empower politician-led investigations could be rerun, though the people voted it down in 2011.

In the second part of an interview with the Irish Examiner, Mr Howlin spelled out more of Labour’s manifesto ahead of the general election campaign.

The Wexford TD said Labour was “absolutely” committed to ensuring welfare was not cut over the lifetime of the next government.

“The era of cuts is over. We now need to have income recovery. And whether that income is from wages or welfare, we’re on the path to income recovery for people.

“And to give people a decent standard of living, because, obviously, the healthier our economy is the more we can ensure that families have a disposable income, the more jobs we maintain and the better the economic activity is.”

Mr Howlin said a rerun of the failed Oireachtas Inquiries referendum should be considered. It proposed empowering political inquiries to make adverse findings. Mr Howlin said a longer debate could help people understand this.

“I’m a firm believer in parliament. And I would like to see our parliament as powerful and as responsive to the needs of the people as the US Congress is, or, indeed, the Houses of Commons.”

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