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Residency rule threat to vulnerable people

YOU correctly identified that difficulties exist for individuals legitimately seeking access to social welfare due to the operation of the habitual residency condition (January 25).

Focus Ireland is concerned at the growing number of people being refused social welfare payments on the basis of allegedly failing to meet this condition. As a housing and homeless charity we are particularly concerned this may put vulnerable people at risk of becoming homeless.

The habitual residency condition is a bad piece of legislation that is being applied inappropriately and inconsistently. This results in Irish citizens and legal residents being refused welfare benefits to which they are entitled.

In the first instance, Focus Ireland is calling for the proper and consistent application of the law as it currently stands. To this end, we believe more training for hard-pressed community welfare officers and other staff in the Department of Social and Family Affairs is urgently required. Focus Ireland is also calling for comprehensive reform of the habitual residency condition to be carried out as a matter of priority.

Mike Allen

Director of Advocacy

Development, Communication and Research

Focus Ireland

High Street

Dublin 8


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