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Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions: Social Welfare Payments (29 Nov 2022)

Claire Kerrane: Will the Minister provide an update on the processing of applications for additional needs payments? They are obviously critical in the winter period for those families and workers who will need support so it is really important that this payments system is working efficiently, effectively and in a timely manner. Will the Minister please give us an update in that regard?

Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions: Social Welfare Payments (29 Nov 2022)

Heather Humphreys: I thank Deputy Kerrane for raising this issue. As of 1 October 2022, over 75,000 applications for additional needs payments, ANPs, were processed and payments awarded. This represents a 63% increase in awarded payments compared with the same period in 2021. My Department has already paid an estimated €46 million in ANPs so far this year. Some of this increase can be attributed to...

Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions: Social Welfare Payments (29 Nov 2022)

Claire Kerrane: I thank the Minister for her response. It is always welcome to see the number of applications approved and being paid out rising. That means that people are seeking support and getting it, which is important. Can the Minister give us any information on the number of applications refused? I had asked that in a parliamentary question but all I got back was the number approved. It is...

Toll Charge Increases: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members] (29 Nov 2022)

Mattie McGrath: One official.

Toll Charge Increases: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members] (29 Nov 2022)

Richard O'Donoghue: Yes. That is what he thinks of this country. He talks about forestry. His other failure is that in 2012 we knew there was a problem with ash dieback. The Government was told but it did nothing about it. What did it do? It let all the forests with ash dieback fail. It said it would give people €1,000 to clear the land. That is what it did. It was another failure of the...

Toll Charge Increases: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members] (29 Nov 2022)

Eamon Ryan: I was glad the Government and my Department were able to reduce public transport fares for everyone in this country by 20% and for 50% for young people.

Toll Charge Increases: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members] (29 Nov 2022)

Richard O'Donoghue: Where people had public transport.

Toll Charge Increases: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members] (29 Nov 2022)

Eamon Ryan: I was glad this Government was able to help out the licensed hauliers with our emergency support scheme when we gave each haulier a payment of €100 per week for eight weeks.

Toll Charge Increases: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members] (29 Nov 2022)

Richard O'Donoghue: Only those with a haulage licence.

Toll Charge Increases: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members] (29 Nov 2022)

Joe Carey: Deputy, please.

Toll Charge Increases: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members] (29 Nov 2022)

Eamon Ryan: That was important at the time when prices were high.

Toll Charge Increases: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members] (29 Nov 2022)

Richard O'Donoghue: It was only for those who had a haulage licence. He is telling lies.

Toll Charge Increases: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members] (29 Nov 2022)

Eamon Ryan: I was proud to be part of a Government that has been recognised by the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council and many others as having introduced budgets that protected the vulnerable while retaining economic security for all. That is not common among European governments but this Government did it. I am glad and proud to be part of a Government that changed the rules around excise duties, petrol...

Toll Charge Increases: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members] (29 Nov 2022)

Richard O'Donoghue: Tax.

Toll Charge Increases: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members] (29 Nov 2022)

Eamon Ryan: -----and the National Oil Reserves Agency, NORA, levy.

Toll Charge Increases: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members] (29 Nov 2022)

Richard O'Donoghue: Tax.

Toll Charge Increases: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members] (29 Nov 2022)

Eamon Ryan: We maintained the revenue diesel rebate scheme to recognise that we were in difficult times. We will defer the increase even though it was proposed to provide for the cost of inflation, particularly in road maintenance and operations, which are important. We must maintain that service for the Irish public and we will do that. That money will not come from cuts to the road maintenance...

Toll Charge Increases: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members] (29 Nov 2022)

Richard O'Donoghue: The Minister spoke for only two minutes and 40 seconds. Is that as much as he could give to rural Ireland?

Toll Charge Increases: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members] (29 Nov 2022)

Paul Donnelly: While the six-month delay will be welcomed by many people, it is a case of kicking the can down the road. In fact, so many cans have been kicked down the road by this Government, it will make a fortune in the new cash for cans recycling measures when they are introduced in 2024. When the hikes come in they will hit people's pockets. They will hit the pockets of workers, businesses and...

Toll Charge Increases: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members] (29 Nov 2022)

Martin Browne: I thank Deputy O'Rourke for tabling the motion before the House. This Government needs to start standing up for the people who are in need of help. People are sick and tired of seeing a Government watch while others take advantage of the people. The Government only responds in the interests of the public when pressure from the Opposition or elsewhere becomes too much to bear. We have seen...

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