MacGiolla Easbuig was speaking following the passage of the Social Welfare Bill 2009 in leinster house on Thursday last April 23.
MacGiolla Easbuig said: “The decision of this administration to target some of the most vulnerable sections of our society by scrapping the Social Welfare Christmas bonus is truly shocking. The extent of the hardship and increased poverty that this measure will inflict on many families already struggling to survive and to make ends meet should not be underestimated. The fact that this administration are willing to inflict such hardship only shows how completely out of touch with the reality of the lives of social welfare recipients they are.”
He added: “For many families on low incomes and particularly social welfare, Christmas can be a very stressful time. Parents stretch themselves to their limits to make ends meet and still provide clothes and toys for their children to make it a happy occasion for them. The Social Welfare bonus for many families was their lifeline. Now that it has been so cruelly taken away by an uncaring administration, many families will now be forced elsewhere to try to make ends meet and to provide for their children. What this will mean is more and more families being forced into the clutches of greedy and unscrupulous moneylenders.”
“These families are now being made scapegoats and been made to pay for the incompetence and greed of this administration and their wealthy business cronies. This was a deliberate attack on the most vulnerable in this state by an administration that has consistently shown their contempt for the less well off in our society. Once again it will be children and the elderly that will suffer the brunt of increasing poverty and hardship caused by their shameful decision scrapping this social welfare payment.”
He concluded: “Donegal has one of the highest rates of unemployment in the country yet deputies from this county are willing to add to peoples hardship here by supporting this measure. Deputies Mary Coughlan and Pat ‘the cope’ Gallagher voted to support this savage cutback while their party colleagues Niall Blaney and James McDaid were so unconcerned by this measure that they did not even bother turning up to vote. These deputies should hang their heads in shame for their actions and I am challenging every single one of them to publicly justify their decision to target social welfare recipients in this manner.”