People travelling to green list countries will no longer have their pandemic unemployment payments stopped, following a government u-turn.
It comes after days of controversy about the payment being paused if people travel abroad.
Clare’s Independent TD has questioned whether the country’s approach to travel is killing off our tourism sector, meanwhile.
The Social Protection Minister has told the Dáil that her Department could have communicated “more effectively” that Pandemic Unemployment Payment and Jobseekers Allowance recipients were not allowed to leave Ireland.
It emerged in recent days that those who travelled abroad had their supports cut, which led to strong criticism of the government from some quarters.
It’s resulted in a u-turn from Government today, with Minister Heather Humphreys saying that regulations will be revised to allow people to travel to green list countries, if they notify the social welfare office first.
But, people will still lose the payment if they travel to countries that are not on the list, unless it’s for essential reasons like a bereavement.
Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys confirmed the rules will change to reflect the general travel advice:
Speaking after the Minister’s announcement, the Sinn Féin leader accused the Government of discrimination, by implementing the rule in the first place.
Mary Lou McDonald says it was completely unfair to the people who have had to rely on state supports.
The Taoiseach has refuted these allegations.
Micheal Martin says they’re not trying to single anyone out.
Clare’s Independent TD said he believes Ireland is completely out of sync with the rest of Europe when it comes to travel.
Scarriff TD Michael McNamara has questioned whether current policies are killing off our tourism industry.
But Clare’s fine Gael Senator has defended the Government, saying there’s considerable evidence that the Pandemic Unemployment Payment has been abused by a small minority of people.
Over 2,000 people in receipt of the support had it taken off them as they had left the country with no intention of returning.
Ennistymon Senator Martin Conway says it’s incumbent on the Government to protect public finances.