LEAVE OR SUCK IT UP. That’s the message the government has sent to our young people, despite all their lip service to youth mental-health issues. Effectively, 18-24 years olds were punished for being unemployed, getting €112 a week to live on. In June we were told that half of that age group were unemployed. The figures since then though improved, remain unclear. Our young people are our hope – they deserve better that they, and we, are getting from FFG ers

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HEAT THE HOUSE OR HAVE MEAL. That’s a real choice many people are forced to make. I was a member of the government’s Climate Action Council. That Council, last year, recommended a study into FUEL POVERTY before increasing carbon tax, increasing hardship. But the FF/FG/Greens, went ahead without a study and put up the Carbon Tax anyway. No hardship to any of them. And just wait for all the ‘concern’ they’ll all show for the poor at Xmas. Sickening.

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NO INCREASE FOR THE OAPs. The suggestion is we can’t afford it because of the outlay on Covid payments to people. Well here’s another suggestion – COVID SOLIDARITY TAX on the filthy rich tech and pharma companies that are making €Billions here and paying pennies in tax. That could look after the OAPs and a lot more besides!

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IBEC is the bosses union and they have some neck. They wanted an amendment passed to proposed legislation affecting workers returning to the job after parental leave. If passed, it would mean the worker would NOT necessarily get their old job back. And Fianna Fáil, who like to pose as the ‘worker’s friend’, put the IBEC amendment!! I spoke against it in the Dáil recently.

 

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I sit on the Dáil committee for Social Protection. Today we queried Department officials, and got less than satisfactory answers, on BOGUS SELF-EMPLOYMENT. It’s basically a scam that lets the actual employer off the hook of responsibility to their workers and has been better described as ‘social dumping’. And its allowed on state-funded projects! And what about worklplace inspections? compliance? prosecutions? From where I sat, there appeared to be little Social Protection and a lot of tip-toeing around exploitative companies and employers.

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I put a number of questions to the Minister for Social Protection at Dáil committee. The discussion was about the forthcoming budget. I asked her about pensions, and when pensioners that had been discriminated against could expect the back-money owed to them, as well as asking about fuel poverty, low pay, new jobs, carers’ allowence and supports for low-income families with older children still in school. Her answers were mostly ‘wait and see’, and can be viewed here https://bit.ly/2xGuS0a. Pensioners though, should be getting their money as soon as the government recruits enough staff to process the claims. How long did it take to process banker’s bailouts? overnight, as far as I can remember.

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PRIVATISED WELFARE. That’s more or less what the Dept of Social Protection did with dole and ‘job activation schemes’. A bit like the film “I Daniel Blake”. And this heartless and inhumane privatised system was warmly welcomed by our firends – THE TROIKA! No surprises there. I asked at the Dáil committee about sanctions against the unemployed by the private agencies the government now uses instead of State employees – 359 to 16,451 cases in less than 6 years. Not impressed by the answers.

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