The Taoiseach’s announcement that a review group will ‘look at’ the callous cuts to the disability allowance for young people is simply not good enough, according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection Barry Cowen.
Deputy Cowen commented, “Despite being handed the opportunity by Michael Noonan, the Taoiseach has refused to acknowledge that his Government made a mistake in singling out young adults with disabilities in Budget 2012. He had the opportunity today and yesterday when questioned in the Dáil to announce that these cruel cuts will be reversed. Instead, he has just kicked the issue down the road and announced the establishment of a ‘review group’ instead.
“We don’t need a review to tell us that this is a callous and discriminatory cut that singles out a particularly vulnerable group who are not in a position to earn a wage. At approximately €7 million, the savings to the exchequer are paltry. But the impact on individual lives of these young people is enormous.
“Worryingly, there appears to be a Government split on how to respond to these cuts. Last night in response to Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath, the Finance Minister Michael Noonan signalled a climb-down on this issue. This morning, the Taoiseach pulled back from this, presumably at the insistence of Minister Joan Burton. Who would have thought that it would fall to Michael Noonan to be the conscience of the Labour Party.
“The young people who are due to qualify for disability allowance and their families need certainty, not civil service reviews. It is time for Labour to swallow their pride, take Michael Noonan’s lead, hold their hands up and admit they made a mistake and reverse this cut permanently.”