August 3, 2021

COVID-19: ‘No information from Minister as thousands lose jobs’ – Wicklow TD 

The Minister for Social Protection has failed to answer direct queries in relation to the thousands of people now without a job or with vastly reduced working hours as a result of the coronavirus emergency, a Wicklow TD has said.

Deputy John Brady spoke out as he called for an “immediate briefing” from Minister Regina Doherty on the deepnening crisis.

The Wicklow TD, Sinn Féin’s social protection spokesperson, said: “For nearly a week now I have been trying to get information on many issues in relation to Social Protection measures, unfortunately no information has been forthcoming from the Department or the Minister.

“Thousands of workers have now been made unemployed or have had their hours cut. There are many questions people have and they are going unanswered.

“This is resulting in Intreo offices across the State becoming swamped with people trying to get answers, there are long queues in many Intreo offices across the State.

“This is jeopardising the health of both the people and the staff within the offices.”

The local Sinn Féin poll-topper (pictured below) said people need “assurance” that additional resources are provided to deal with the huge numbers of people who will be left temporarily unemployed as a result of the emergency.

“Everything that can be done to make it easier for people to make an application for a Jobseekers payment or Illness Benefit should be done. This includes the online application process,” he added.

“The necessity to have a Public Service Card to make an online application needs to be dropped, a passport or Driving Licence should be sufficient.

“Making people go to the Intreo office to get the PSC so they can make an online application is counterproductive. The online process needs to be ramped up in case of any difficulties with the postal service due to the spread of the virus.

“The new Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is welcome, however there should be provision in this scheme for workers put on to short time working. Clarity is also needed for people in receipt of a number of different Social Welfare in work payments.”

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