“I make no apologies for tackling welfare fraud and abuse. Why? Because it is essential that we protect the welfare system for those who genuinely need it.
The Department’s objective is to ensure that it pays the right amount of money to the right person at the right time, and the vast majority of welfare customers receive only the payment to which they are entitled. I have always championed the welfare system as a safety net for those who need it most. It’s precisely because the State’s limited resources should go to those most in need that I have prioritised tackling fraud and abuse.
We save over €500m a year by combating welfare fraud and ensuring money is not paid out in error. Since December last, 20 gardai have been seconded to the Department to work in our Special Investigation Unit, the unit that specialises in fraud investigation. The primary function of the Gardaí assigned to the Special Investigation Unit is to investigate allegations and initiate investigations into social welfare fraud. They work closely with other compliance and fraud investigation agencies to ensure that social welfare abuse is comprehensively deterred and detected.
We also have a dedicated hotline where people can report suspected cases of welfare fraud. Those who who wish to report suspected incidences of welfare fraud can do so by phoning (01) 6732123 or (071) 9672648 or Locall 1890 927999. All anonymous or confidential reports are examined and where relevant, are referred for follow-up action.”