Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher
Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher has welcomed that the review into Seasonal and Part time workers entitlements for Job Seekers Benefits is underway – the matter was raised by me on numerous occasions since the last General Election.
A commitment was obtained from the Minister for Social Protection in the course of the Social welfare Bill debates, the various changes brought into effect by the previous Government over the past 6 years has made it virtually impossible for seasonal and part time workers to obtain social protection payments under Job Seekers Benefit.
The changes have impacted directly on many hundreds of seasonal and part time workers right through out Donegal and this review must deal with their concerns and assist them in restoring their entitlement to Social Protection as seasonal and part time workers.
Pat the Cope stated that the Minister had replied to a Dail question tabled by him and the Minister confirmed that “the review had commenced and the aim was to have the report ready for the Social Protection Committee hearing by end of March or early April 2017”. It is now essential that the department officials deal fairly with this review and make every effort to understand the difficulties these changes in Job seekers benefit are having on rural families and seasonal workers. The role seasonal and part time workers play in the rural economy is extremely important, for employers who function on a seasonal basis it provides the necessary labour and for those in employment it further sustains the incomes of many farming families and fishermen’s households.
Pat the Cope added that the basic social welfare principle has always been to support those who work, and the many seasonal and part time workers are entitled to full support from their social welfare contributions – that is what the review is about and that is what this Government must restore for these workers, their basic right to obtain Social Welfare payments when their seasonal or part time worker ceases. I am calling on the Government to restore full entitlements to seasonal and part time workers as it was a complete mistake to remove and change their rights to social welfare in the first instance concluded Pat the Cope.