Welfare cheats’ names to be published online

Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty

The names of convicted welfare cheats are to be published online as part of new measures to combat fraud.

Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty brought the proposals to Cabinet yesterday. The measures would see the names of all those convicted of defrauding the State by more than €5,000 in social welfare benefits published on the Department of Social Protection website.

Separately, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy brought a memo to Cabinet to provide planning permission extensions to housing developments.

The emergency memo will now be fast-tracked through the Dáil and Seanad so that it can be enacted before the summer break.

Mr Murphy pointed out that many planning permissions for housing developments had been sought just before the crash in 2007 or 2008.

Given that planning permissions last five years, and can only be renewed once, many of these are now on the verge of expiring.

“People who are on site now and are building won’t have to stop building if their planning permission lapses,” Mr Murphy said.

He added that developments which are due to start soon, but which have a limited time left on their planning permissions, will also be allowed commence under the new legislation.

The third extension will be given to developments of over 20 units and will ensure permission is granted until 2021.

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is to establish five Cabinet sub-committees to deal with economic issues; social policy and public service; Brexit and European affairs; infrastructure and housing; and health.

This is half the number of sub-committees as there were under Enda Kenny’s term. A spokesman said Mr Varadkar wanted to create a smaller number of more “nimble” committees that would be better focused.


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