Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle criticises Minister for delay in publishing report on Seasonal Workers in Donegal

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Pringle criticises Minister for delay in publishing report on Seasonal Workers in Donegal

November 15th, 2017

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Last year Deputy Pringle called on the then Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar to carry out a report into seasonal workers to look at potential barriers for Seasonal Workers accessing social welfare supports since cuts were implemented in 2012 and before.

“It has been revealed to me that the Committee has not yet received the report from the Department of Social Protection while the Minister claims the report is being finalised. It is unacceptable that we are waiting nearly exactly a year later for any word of this report considering it’s importance to the Donegal context” says Pringle.

“Seasonal workers particularly in Donegal have faced numerous barriers to accessing social welfare entitlements since devastating cuts were made in 2012. The reduction in Jobseeker’s Benefit from 12 to 9 months means that seasonal workers particularly those working in the fishing industry end up on Jobseeker’s Allowance. This can have serious implications as it is means- tested. It would only cost €39 million to reinstate the Benefit back to the full 12 months nationally which pales in comparison to the overall social protection budget”.

“I also called for the report to look into Subsidiary Employment limits which have remained at €12.50 which still causes difficulties particularly for part time farmers who supplement their income with other work. It was revealed to me that the Department does not know the cost for increasing this limit to €25 which further justified a Report to look into costings for changes to social supports.

“I felt all these barriers were discriminatory to seasonal workers because through no fault of their own they work in sectors where employment is limited. At the time the Minister confirmed he had heard a lot of these cases come through the Department from Donegal so the issue is quite prevalent here due to various factors including lack of full time work, dominance of tourism, hospitality and fishing sectors.

“Last year the Minister agreed to prepare a Department report by way of amending Budget legislation and committed to referring the report to Committee once published. However, it turns out the Social Protection Committee has not yet heard from the Department while the Minister has confirmed that the Report is in its final stages”.

“We are now entering a second Budgetary cycle since I first called for this report and still no sign of its whereabouts. Seasonal workers cannot afford to wait for political cycles and so I am calling on the Minister to publish the report for consideration by the Committee without delay” concludes Pringle.

 

ENDS

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