Gary Gannon TD, the Social Democrats spokesperson on Social Protection, is to seek an urgent explanation from the Government after it emerged that passengers are having their Pandemic Unemployment Payment removed following airport inspections.

Deputy Gannon said:

“I was extremely concerned to learn that those receiving the PUP have been targeted by Department of Social Protection inspectors at airports and in over 100 cases have had their entitlement to the payment removed. Comments made by the Tánaiste over the weekend, when he suggested that people availing of the Covid-19 payment should be actively seeking work, were an absolute insult to those who lost their jobs through no fault of their own and speaks volumes about Fine Gael’s contempt for social welfare recipients.

“The sole criteria for qualifying for PUP is that you lost your job as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In many cases, employees have been temporarily laid off but are hoping to return to their jobs as restrictions are eased and the economy recovers. A case in point would be the thousands of pub and arts workers who can’t resume their jobs until the Government says so.

“It adds insult to injury to conflate the payment of the PUP with the Government’s stated preference for people not to engage in foreign travel. We need to send out a clear message that people on social welfare are not responsible for this crisis and should not be scapegoated by the Government.

“I will be calling for an end to these outrageous airport inspections when the Social Welfare Bill is debated in the Dáil tomorrow.”

July 27, 2020

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