104 people have had their Covid unemployment payment stopped because of travel overseas
Covid unemployment payments have been stopped following airport checks and 44 other social welfare payments have also been closed down
The Department of Social Welfare and Protection has confirmed 104 people have had their Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) stopped because of overseas travel.
The cuts came as a result of airport checks.
The department said in a statement that “it is safer to stay at home this summer”. It also shared that 44 other social welfare payments have also been closed down since 7 July. These included jobseekers’ payments and means assessed payments.
The statement came after a Sunday Business Post report uncovered that payments had been ceased because individuals were found boarding flights in breach of the rules.
It stated that the benefit “is not paid to people who go on holidays abroad or when they are going through their 14-day quarantine period”.
However, cases would be considered if someone receiving the payment “has to travel abroad for urgent or exceptional reasons”.
The department explained officials carry out inspections on passengers travelling through Irish airports regularly. These include interviews with customers by trained investigators, audits of employers’ PRSI records, specialist investigations and joint inquiries, operations with other agencies such as Revenue and the Gardaí, and multi-agency checkpoints.
Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said to receive the payment you must be “seeking work and resident in Ireland and not travelling abroad”. When Áine Lawlor pushed that other welfare payments had not been stopped by foreign travel, the Tánaiste replied: “If you’re in receipt of the jobseeker’s allowance, for example, you are allowed to take a break away of up to two weeks, but beyond that it can be stopped and if you are genuinely not living in the country anymore”.
The news has received a great deal of online reaction.
Yes, because only employed people need holidays right? Or have family living abroad to visit? God forbid someone want to escape the horrors of being unemployed in this country for a few relaxing days in the sun! https://twitter.com/obraonain/status/1287308933280018432
— Mary Kate (@emmkayh) July 26, 2020
Interesting priorities regarding airport checks from the Irish government here. https://twitter.com/obraonain/status/1287308933280018432
— Naomi O’Leary (@NaomiOhReally) July 26, 2020
Nobody should be traveling at the moment of it can be avoided but financially penalising one group of people for it is unfair. Particularly when you note that Brendan O’Connor was on the radio yesterday chuckling about people from D4 going to Portugal or ‘P4’. https://twitter.com/obraonain/status/1287308933280018432
— ? amy o’connor ? (@amyohconnor) July 26, 2020
So this Government thinks it’s a better deployment of resources to have social welfare inspectors at our airports but not COVID testers?!?! Absolutely incredible. #COVID19 https://twitter.com/obraonain/status/1287308933280018432
— Duncan Smith TD (@DuncanSmithTD) July 26, 2020
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