Tánaiste Joan Burton has swept aside suggestions by Taoiseach Enda Kenny of a new welfare system to reward those returning to work and said such schemes have existed for years.
Mr Kenny used a dinner speech on Thursday to outline plans for a working family payment to promote work over welfare, which he pledged Fine Gael would introduce if returned to power.
The Taoiseach said the payment would be targeted at low-income families and would supplement household income while at the same time incentivising work.
Fine Gael officials have remained tight-lipped about the proposals since then.
However, amid growing divisions between Fine Gael and Labour yesterday, Ms Burton shot down the suggestion that a working family payment was anything new.
“That’s something that we have introduced over the last couple of years,” the social protection minister said.
Ms Burton there was a big spend on the family income supplement, which supported 55,000 families, many of whom were lone parents.
Her department had also introduced a back-to-work family dividend. This lets someone hold onto a weekly child paymentof €30 a week for one child for one year and 50% of that for the second year.
“So we have a lot of family income supports built into the Irish system,” said Ms Burton. “It’s a very strong feature of the Irish system, I’d like to see it deepened and expanded.”
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