Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has urged Sinn Féin to clarify its position on welfare payments after the main opposition party proposed a €50 weekly hike in unemployment benefits.
In its submission to the Taxation and Welfare Commission, Sinn Féin advocated the hefty increase because jobseekers should be entitled to a payment equivalent to the Minimum Living Standard (MESL).
Mr Donohoe said the party should explain whether it would like to see a €50 increase in all other social benefits and how it will pay for such increases.
“I want Sinn Féin to explain why, at a time when employers are screaming for workers across our country, why they believe there should be a €50 increase in payments for jobseekers,” he said.
“I would also ask them to clarify what that means for the other benefits that we pay to others in our society. It has been common practice in social policy for many years that if you increase one working-age payment by, say, 5 euros, you also increase the others.
“Is Sinn Féin asking for a €50 increase in all working-age benefits in our welfare system? And if so, they should clarify how much that would cost and how they want to pay for it.”
Sinn Féin recently said it would eliminate special tax breaks for high-paid executives if they are elected to government.
The Special Assignee Relief Program (Sarp) introduced high-income tax breaks for up to five years to attract a highly skilled workforce.
Mr Donohoe said the scheme keeps “certain types of jobs” in Ireland and it would be a “gamble” for business to get rid of them.
“If Sinn Féin is willing to change something like that, it suggests to me that they are willing to gamble with our economic security at a time when we already have a lot of risks,” he said.
“What we really have to worry about is Sinn Féin’s future here. What does this mean for our economy, what does this mean for jobs in our economy and what does this mean for our ability to look after jobs in Ireland at a time when real economic risks are developing elsewhere in the world? ”
The Fine Gael minister also said while he was not currently concerned about a recession in Ireland, the state could be hit by recessions elsewhere.
“The jobs numbers and the Treasury Department figures indicate an economy that is still growing and growing in line with revised expectations,” he said.
“The world is at risk of a significant slowdown in growth, some parts of the world could be at risk of recession.
“I don’t see any worrying shift in our performance right now, but there could be things happening elsewhere in the world that impact our economy, particularly in 2023.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/finance-minister-paschal-donohoe-calls-on-sinn-fein-to-clarify-its-position-on-social-welfare-payments-after-call-for-50-hike-in-dole-41903763.html Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe is calling on Sinn Féin to clarify its position on welfare payments after it called for a €50 increase in unemployment benefits