A south Donegal deputy has called for an increase in social welfare in line with inflation and called for an end to JobPath.
Independent candidate, Deputy Thomas Pringle said that Donegal has one of the highest percentage rates of dependency on social welfare in the country and has underlined the importance of restoring welfare rates to what they were in the years leading up to 2012.
He said: "Fine Gael has refused to restore social welfare rates to pre-2012 levels and continues to pay private companies, like JobPath, to deal with people who are out of work. Social welfare plays a huge role in allowing people to have a decent standard of living, particularly families and children. Yet, poverty rates are still persistently high. I believe we need to apply a minimum standard of living to all social welfare rates so people can live with dignity and meet all their essential needs. For those in work, the minimum wage needs to be increased, as many working families continue to struggle to get by."
The south Donegal TD said that he would target pension poverty and stop the state pension age increasing to 67 bringing it back to 65.
"I have successfully helped remove barriers to social welfare payments facing seasonal workers in Donegal but many more remain," he said.
He added that working families also need to be helped through the social welfare system and this can be done by increasing the Working Family Payment and other supports for working families.
He emphasised protecting workers’ rights, including union recognition by employers and their visits to workplaces.
He said: “Social welfare needs to be benchmarked. This hasn’t happened for a decade which means social welfare rates don’t reflect the cost of living. The Vincentian Partnership have devised a concise calculation to do this called the ‘Minimum Essential Standard of Living’ and is something I support. Social welfare can play a huge role in ensuring everyone in this country has an adequate income whether in or out of employment.”
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.