Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection, Willie O’Dea TD, says he is baffled by comments from Minister Joan Burton today when she said that core social welfare rates will remain the same, but failed to indicate which ones.

Deputy O’Dea commented: “It feels like deja-vu here with Minister Burton. We see an exercise in kite-flying where she leaks a bit of information before quickly muddying the waters and creating utter confusion.

“Minister Burton appeared to reassure people by announcing that core social welfare rates will remain the same after December’s budget. She then bizarrely failed to explain what core payments are. I find it hard to disagree with her colleague Leo Varadkar who just this week in the Dáil declared that consumer confidence had plummeted in the space of a month: ‘probably due to Ministers and others talking about child benefit cuts, property taxes and all sorts of things’. This policy of drip-feeding parts of the budget is only serving to create mass confusion and concern.

“The jockeying for position among Ministers is in direct defiance of an order by Labour Party Leader Eamon Gilmore for Ministers to stop leaking information about the budget because of the significant amount of uncertainly it creates.

“This kind of political posturing is damaging the economy and affecting consumer confidence. People need certainty and clarify, they don’t need this behaviour which is little more than attention seeking and point scoring. I am calling on Minister Burton to explain what she has been hinting at and bring clarity to the situation.”