FF & Green TDs pressed to stop PUP clampdown

FF & Green TDs pressed to stop PUP clampdown
28/05/2020Social Democrat TD Gary Gannonat Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin.Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

Fianna Fáil and Green TDs are being urged to block or amend new government legislation that will force pandemic payment claimants to “genuinely” be seeking work.

The move has caused consternation, as many on pandemic unemployment payments (PUP) were forced to leave workplaces when the pandemic took hold. Some of those on the emergency payment include workers in hospitality, the arts, sports and other sectors which were closed down.

Welfare legislation in the Dáil this evening - which gives effect to the emergency payment - also includes a section that stipulates a claimant must "genuinely" be seeking work.

The Social Democrats is set to table amendment during that Dáil debate to scrap this section and wants government TDs to row in behind the move.

Earlier this week some Fianna Fáil TDs, including Willie O'Dea, slated a government move to slash PUP amounts for recipients who had travelled abroad. Over 100 people on PUP had amounts reduced.

Gary Gannon of the Social Democrats said welfare recipients should not be targetted or “treated differently”.

PUP recipients “had to remove themselves from work” for public health reasons, he said.

The goalposts has changed since the last government said Mr Gannon adding that is is "wrong and unjust" that welfare recipients are being targetted. He called on Fianna Fáil and Green TDs to support Tuesday's Dail amendment.

Fianna Fáil TDs have privately said the situation is likely to move towards being a “big fucking row” as the week goes on. Local TDs have already been approached by pub staff expressing concerns about the continued closure of businesses. With those jobs hanging in the air, Fianna Fáil TDs told the Irish Examiner they fear they will now get it in the neck if those same staff are being told to get employment elsewhere. “This is set to throw the cat among the pigeons,” added one veteran Fianna Fáil backbench TD.

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