Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection Willie O’Dea TD says the new Minister for Social Protection must legislate to protect the self-employed as one of his first priorities.
Commenting on the issue Deputy O’Dea said, “I and the Fianna Fáil party have long been vocal on the need to amend the treatment of the self-employed. In 2013 I published the Social Welfare Amendment Bill which addressed the fact that the self-employed cannot access social welfare payments. Furthermore, in April 2015 we put forward a Private Members Motion on the same matter.
“PRSI is regarded as equivalent to an income tax by self-employed people due to the tenuous link between benefits derived and the amount paid. We want to change this so that there is a genuine PRSI safety net for the self-employed.
“The treatment of the self-employed and making sure that entrepreneurship is protected and encouraged in public policy is of the utmost importance. Unfortunately Ireland stands apart from its European counterparts in the way it treats those who are self-employed. The Government should be actively encouraging entrepreneurship and if it is serious about this it should start by dismantling barriers that are preventing people from starting a new business. The Bill that Fianna Fáil published in 2013 can at the very least act as a starting point.
“Minister Varadkar has talked in the past about this area being a priority, but the last Government did nothing and now is the time for action. He needs to act decisively, taking forward an issue that Fianna Fáil has been at the forefront of highlighting for the last number of years”.