FF, Greens 'concerned' at order to seek work

Move caused consternation, as many on such pandemic unemployment payments were forced to leave workplaces when the pandemic took hold
FF, Greens 'concerned' at order to seek work
Social Democrat TD Gary Gannon said welfare recipients should not be targeted

Fianna Fáil and Green TDs are concerned about Government rules forcing pandemic unemployment payment (PUP) claimants to “genuinely” be seeking work.

The move has caused consternation, as many on such payments were forced to leave workplaces when the pandemic took hold. 

Some of those include workers in hospitality, the arts, sports and other sectors closed down during the pandemic.

Welfare legislation in the Dáil yesterday evening — which gave effect to the emergency payment — included a section that stipulates a claimant must “genuinely” be seeking work.

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.

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

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

The goalposts had changed since the last government, said Mr Gannon, adding that is is “wrong and unjust” that welfare recipients are being targeted.

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 the issue will throw “the cat among the pigeons”, said Fianna Fáil backbench TD.

Green TDs blame their own ministers for leaving them in the dark on the changes.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin denied to the Dail that the Government was “singling out” people on PUP for going on foreign holidays.

Mr Martin said people on the payment should be seeking work and Government advice states people should avoid non-essential travel abroad.

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