Longford Fine Gael Senator Micheál Carrigy
Senator Micheál Carrigy has asked that the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection give clarification on when the Department will return to their weekly payments.
At the moment the Department of Social protection is providing a two-week payment cycle for all welfare payments including pension.
Senator Carrigy said, "Whilst I totally understand that this system was put in place to maintain the delivery of social welfare payments while assisting with social distancing measures designed to combat the spread of the coronavirus I am now looking for clarity on when this will be changed back."
The Longford based Fine Gael Senator added, "With the speed up of the re-opening Ireland road map we now have businesses opening earlier than expected which is fantastic however, An post have advised that due to the two-weekly cycle payments there has been a 30% drop in transaction in their offices and this will have a knock-on effect to businesses in the area that are already struggling to get back on their feet after the Covid-19 lockdown.
"Footfall in Towns and Villages are affected by bi weekly payments. At a time when it is so important to Shop and Stay Local now is the time for the Department of Social Protection to return to pre Covid-19 weekly payments."
Senator Carrigy also stated that as a Postmaster himself, he has had customers request to return to the weekly cycle as they are finding it extremely difficult to manage their finances on a two-weekly basis.
"It is sometimes the case that they have nearly spent all their payment after the first few days and struggle to manage for the next 10 days. You must remember that a lot of these people have only ever received weekly payments and are not used to budgeting for two weeks. Also, with our older citizens heading into the local village or town on a weekly basis this would help bring a great sense of comfort to them after having to ‘cocoon’ for such a long period of time.
"Postmasters have spent a great deal of time ensuring that their offices present a safe environment for all and have put in strict social distancing measures and lets not forget that during this whole pandemic they have been involved in front line services and have remained open to ensure that services were provided to all."
Finally, Senator Carrigy called on the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection to give a commitment to the Postmasters and their customers that the return to the weekly payment system will be imminent.
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