Wednesday, 29 July 2020
Social Welfare (Covid-19) (Amendment) Bill 2020: Second Stage
I listened to some of the contributions outside the Chamber and it has been a good debate.
I warmly welcome the Minister to the House and wish her well in her Ministry. These are difficult times for anyone in government. Issues have to be addressed head-on, hard decisions have to be taken and the ramifications of those decisions have to be taken on board. Minister are expected to come to the Dáil. I am always reminding people that it is not the Seanad that holds the Government to account but the Dáil.
I thank the Minister for establishing a review, which will be important. Anyone who has been listening to the radio and reading the newspapers in the past few days and hours will have noted the genuine concern about this issue. I heard a piece on the radio the other day about tax dodgers, people with offshore accounts, and all sorts of carry-on by people who can move money around the world and get away with it, yet somehow people in receipt of welfare payments are suddenly being seen as a target. Nobody chooses not to have a job or an income to put bread on the table. That is the perspective we must take. We must respect that people are legitimately entitled to claim welfare payments. We should not target any particular group unfairly. Many people do not have a job because of Covid-19. I thank the Minister for at least accepting the need to review this matter and committing herself to such a review. That is important.