Thursday, 21 May 2020
Covid-19 (Taoiseach): Statements
Leo Varadkar (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Dublin West, Fine Gael)
Anyone over 66 is eligible for either the contributory State pension or the non-contributory State pension. Given the fact that some people may have dependants, many of those in receipt of the State pension, contributory or non-contributory, will actually get more than €350. That option is there for people who need it. What we are not doing is paying people the pension as well as the pandemic unemployment payment. That would be two benefits.
Almost all taxi drivers are self-employed. Anyone who is self-employed whose income has dropped is entitled to the pandemic unemployment payment. I suspect there are thousands, if not tens of thousands, of taxi drivers who are in receipt of the pandemic unemployment payment. They are entitled to that and they should get it until such time as they are able to get going again. I agree that the sector will need help. I do not know exactly what will have to be done but I imagine it will require an adaptation of the cars in some way, perhaps by putting screens between the back and front or something of that nature. I do not know. I certainly would welcome an engagement between the Minister, Shane Ross, and the sector to work out what needs to be done to allow taxis to get moving again, what work would be carried out and how we might help to co-fund it with them.