Wednesday, 2 June 2021
Ceisteanna - Questions
I am on the Committee on Budgetary Oversight, which deals with a lot of these and with reports and commentaries on the Irish economic situation. It is an interesting fact that groups like the IMF, which we do not associate with left-wing ideology, have said a number of things. One is that income supports should not be pulled too early. Despite that, the Government has given an arbitrary date to pull income supports from people whose income and livelihood have been devastated by Covid and the pandemic measures the Government has taken.
I repeat the point about the musicians. There is no clear timeframe for musicians and the Government will cut their PUP. They are eating, as one reported to me last night, bread and jam for dinner. There is a problem. They say the onerous character of the eligibility criteria for MEBAS means the majority of musicians will not qualify.
Another thing various bodies commenting on the Irish post-Covid period have said is that we have to really invest in education and retraining. I have repeatedly raised the question with the Taoiseach of psychologists and the fact they have to work unpaid on placement and face shocking fees, such that it is almost impossible for people from a working-class or modest-income background to get a doctorate in psychology. Can we do something to reduce the burden of fees and stop the situation where they have to work for nothing on placement across the health service?