TD challenges Varadkar to live on €350 a week before considering reducing pandemic payment

Leo Varadkar has said the Government will extend the pandemic unemployment payment beyond June 8 but a date for how long it will continue has not been decided yet.
TD challenges Varadkar to live on €350 a week before considering reducing pandemic payment

A TD has challenged the Taoiseach to live off of €350 a week before considering reducing the Covid-19 pandemic payment.

Leo Varadkar has said the Government will extend the pandemic unemployment payment beyond June 8 but a date for how long it will continue has not been decided yet.

However, Mr Varadkar told the Dáil the decision to extend it may not be made by the current government.

Ministers also want to stop workers who were earning less than €350 a week from getting that amount in a social welfare payment.

But RISE TD Paul Murphy wants to see the payment maintained at that level for the year.

“Those who are currently leading the idealogical charge to suggest that €350 a week is a whole lot of money - luxurious standard of living is kind of what is suggested,” he said.

Mr Murphy said “the likes of” the Taoiseach and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe “should try living on €350 a week” before they cut any payments.

Speaking in the Dáil today, Mr Varadkar said: “The economy is only slowly opening up now and it is going to have to be extended.

“Nobody needs to worry, the payment expires if you get your job back but anyone who has not been offered their job back will continue to receive the payment beyond June.

“Government will have to make a decision.

“This government or the new government will have to make a decision as to how long it will be extended until.”

He added: “We also have to deal with some of the anomalies as some people are receiving more money on the payment than they did in January or February before the pandemic began.

“None of these decisions have to be made now and they may well be decisions for the next government and we may require a further revised estimates in the coming weeks.”

More in this section