Ireland ready to cast off shackles of bailout, says Taoiseach
Kenny says tackling child poverty a ‘critical issue’
Taoiseach Enda Kenny: “It’s a steady hand on the tiller here, a clear view of where we want to be and it’s about spreading out that momentum into the values we have as a people and spread that out around the country.” Photograph: Matt Kavanagh
Ireland will, from Monday, stand with the “shackles [
of the bailout] around our feet”, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said. He said Ireland would stand equal to any other country in the euro zone and would use the opportunities now available.
He was speaking at the announcement, with Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, of an online tool for jobseekers with a job offer to calculate the financial impact if they went off welfare and took up work.
Asked about Ireland’s exit from the EU-IMF bailout on Sunday, Mr Kenny said he was looking forward to it, though there would be no immediate changes to Government policy.
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“It will be business as normal. It’s a steady hand on the tiller here, a clear view of where we want to be and it’s about spreading out that momentum into the values we have as a people and spread that out around the country.
“On Monday we stand with those shackles around our feet, with the same security as any other country in the euro zone, same opportunities, and we intend to use those.”
Ms Burton said the critical issue for her department after the bailout would be tackling child poverty and poverty among people with disabilities. She said the long-lasting impact of child poverty meant tackling it was a priority and key to this was increasing employment in households with children.
“In terms of focusing on what happens after the bail out, the critical thing from a social protection point of view is to improve poverty outcomes particularly for families with children and for people with a disability. “All of the research shows that the people who are most at risk of poverty are jobless households where the one or two adults in the household have no meaningful level of work hours [and] the outcomes for those children in particular [in these house- holds] are just less good.”
Households with children
She said the department’s focus in devising back-to-work programmes and training programmes was on households with children. “It’s one particular area we have to focus on because you can get whole families left out of employment and their children and it risks becoming intergenerational.”
The online calculator, known as the ‘‘benefit of work ready reckoner”, showed that up to 97 per cent of jobless households would be better off if at least one person had a job, department staff said.
Jobseekers can access the “reckoner” on the department website. Users can input the wage they are being offered and the welfare they receive along with some brief details of their circumstances including whether they are single, whether they have any dependent children and whether they get rent allowance or mortgage relief.
The “reckoner” will calculate the impact on their income of taking the job, taking into account tax credits and any Family Income Supplement they may be entitled to.
The demonstrator showed a single person on jobseeker’s payment of €188 per week, with no rent to pay, being offered 40 hours a week on the minimum wage (€346 per week), would be €141.18 per week better off.
The “reckoner” can be
accessed at welfare.ie