Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection Deputy Willie O’Dea has said he is concerned about reports of delays in issuing Maternity Benefit payments.
“Quite a number of my colleagues have been contacted by people who are rightly concerned about reports of delays in both the processing and payment of Maternity Benefit to new mothers.
“Maternity Benefit is a vital payment during what is an extremely expensive period in a person’s life.
“For some people it is their only source of income whilst on maternity leave and any delay in receiving this payment can place a severe financial burden on new mothers.
“This places a pressure on them that they shouldn’t have to deal with.
“Minister Varadkar must address this issue immediately, find out why there are delays in the processing of this payment, and if required transfer staff to this section of the department to deal with any backlogs.
“If Minister expended a tenth of the energy on dealing with the real administrative challenge in his department as he does on promoting himself through inflated welfare fraud campaigns, we wouldn’t have expectant mothers concerned about whether they will get their payment on time.
“As public representatives, we are constantly hearing from constituents who are waiting months for essential payments and it is a source of considerable anxiety and worry.
“Minister Varadkar has a responsibility to ensure that the Department of Social Protection is adequately equipped to deal with the demands placed upon it. Ultimately, the buck stops with him,” concluded O’Dea.