People Before Profit TD, Gino Kenny, has stated that the governments apparent view of people availing of social welfare is elitist and snobbish.

Gino Kenny election posterThis claim comes in a response to a parliamentary question, tabled by Deputy Kenny, asking if the Minister for Social Protection would reverse the lower Social Protection payment received by under 26s. Currently the maximum entitlement for someone aged 25 or younger is €144. This is compared to a maximum rare for those 26 and over as €188. People Before Profit view this as blatant discrimination based on age.

Deputy Kenny cited the language used by the Minister in the reply to the question as ‘elitist’ and ‘very concerning as it highlights how this government views those on welfare and under the age of 26’.

In the Ministers answer it says ‘To guard against welfare dependency I believe it is necessary to provide young jobseekers with a strong financial incentive to engage in education or training or to take up employment’.

Responding to this answer Deputy Kenny said: “This answer provides a clear insight as to how this government views young people who have to avail of social welfare. It is clear from the elitist snobbery provided in the form of an answer to my question that Minister Varadkar looks down on people on social welfare. Let’s be clear, people want to work. The economic saboteurs like the banks and bondholders that this government and those of the past have prioritised over ordinary people are the people that have removed the jobs that can support basic living standards in this country.

“The insinuation of the Ministers answer is that these people have to be forced to ‘get off’ social welfare as if social supports were like a drug. The Minister clearly assumes that people want to be on social welfare. This is of course contrary to evidence based research. For example, when the CE schemes were available lone parents took up these roles. When these schemes were taken away, along with changes to the one parent family payment, lone parent employment went down from 60% to 36%.

“Seeing as Ireland ranks just above the US in terms of social welfare benefits and we are one of the lowest rates in Europe I would ask the Minister again to reverse the discriminatory reduced rate on social welfare benefits received by under 26s.”