Clare speaking on the second stage of the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill:
This legislation has many aspects to be considered but I will concentrate on the changes to the Pensions Act rather than the social welfare provisions which have been addressed by other Deputies. I agree with the points made by Deputy Pringle about our obsession with alleged social welfare fraud which has been shown in most cases to be incidents of error when it occurs. The Minister proposes to second 20 gardaí into a virtual hit squad to pursue social welfare fraudsters. This is unbelievable when white collar crime is one of the biggest problems in our society. This is an attempt to scape-goat some of the most vulnerable sections of society by turning these allegations of fraud into something they are not because the statistics show that the instances of fraud are quite minor. In any case, we can deal with that issue later.
I recently asked the Minister for Social Protection a number of questions relating to the treatment of social welfare recipients in this state at a time when many are undergoing severe hardship in relation to housing and limited family finances.
To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his proposals in relation to allowing former employees access the State’s industrial relations procedures so that they can have a voice in relation to pension matters, as referred to by the Minister for Social Protection during the recent the debate on the Social Welfare and Pensions (No. 2) Bill 2013.
Speaking on a Sinn Fein Private Members motion on the Gateway scheme Clare says that the scheme is a cover up for the erosion of council services which the public sector recruitment embargo has facilitated.
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