Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Regional, Rural, Gaeltacht & Island Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív has called on the Government to remove the disincentives which are preventing people taking up employment.  Certain entitlements such as rent allowance and medical cards are reduced or sometimes removed when people go back to work.

Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “This Government needs to seriously examine the eligibility criteria for certain allowances, which are effectively penalising people who want to go back to work.  The current restrictions are acting as a disincentive to people who are taking up a new job, particularly those who have secured part time employment.  For some people it doesn’t make financial sense for them to return to work if their allowances are taken away.

“Not only are these restrictions deterring people from entering the workplace, they are perpetrating a skills shortage in certain parts of the country.  Some healthcare posts, such as home care assistance, are often part-time roles and I am aware of severe gaps in these areas in certain parts of the country.

“I am calling on Government Ministers to seriously examine this issue and ensure that all barriers to work are removed and that the bureaucratic system of allowances and payments is scaled back in order to make it easier for people to get back to work without facing a reduced financial income”.