The Irish Sun Interview

Speaking to the Irish Sun, I called on Finance Minister Donohoe to clarify his intentions ahead of his Brexit budget and to confirm that the Christmas bonus is safe for this year’s pensioners, carers, lone parents and all the other people who get it. You can read more here or below.

Fears for social welfare Christmas bonus after Minister Paschal Donohue’s Brexit Budget plan

The Government has been urged to clarify whether the social welfare and pension Christmas bonus will be paid this year ahead of next month’s Brexit budget.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe this week ruled out across-the-board increases in social welfare and pension payments.

“The cost of the Christmas bonus is around €300million. An awful lot of the €2.8billion available in the budget is already committed for instance to continue civil service pay restorations and hopefully something for the soldiers, navy and air corp.

“The money is there for that but the way there was an announcement that this year there could be a limitation in relation to social protection in the budget for next year raises the question.”

XMAS PLANS

The Dublin TD added: “I certainly think that the Minister for Finance and the Taoiseach should make it clear now as to whether the bonus is going to be paid.

“People start to plan for it once October comes in and they plan their Christmas festivities around what they can and can’t spend.”

The Christmas bonus is an extra payment for people getting long term social welfare payments such as pensioners, carers, parents and long term unemployed.

It is usually paid in the first week of December and is double the weekly payment with a minimum of €20.

The Christmas bonus was scrapped by the Fianna Fail Government following the economic crash in 2008.

Earlier this week, Minister Donohoe ruled out across-the-board increases in social welfare payments as Ireland’s extra cash will be used to combat the impact on the economy of a no-deal Brexit.

The Finance Minister said there will be a social welfare package in his Budget 2020 but any increases will be small and targeted to those who are most vulnerable.

Former Labour Party leader Burton went on: “I certainly think that there should be an increase in social welfare payments in line with inflation. I find it hard to believe that the Government won’t do something like that.

“I personally think that Paschal needs to make sure that people who do rely on social welfare are not left behind. I think that would be wrong to do that.

“I’m all for a prudent budget but a prudent budget should come out of better management in areas like health, the children’s hospital and the broadband plan.”

A spokeswoman for the Dept of Public Expenditure said: “This is of course a matter for the budget but Minister Donohoe has always sought to prioritize the vulnerable in society and this prioritizing has included the payment of a Christmas bonus each year.”