Generous Irish welfare a 'myth' - Cori


POVERTY ELIMINATION:IT IS a “myth” to suggest that Ireland has one of the most generous welfare states in Europe, the Conference of Religious in Ireland (Cori) has said.

The conference, which represents religious congregations, said the welfare state must be protected, despite the recession.

In a briefing published ahead of the European and local elections, Cori Justice said the belief that Irish welfare rates are excessively generous are “patently untrue”.

“In fact they are at the other end of the spectrum. However, the lack of data to support the claims has not stopped these claims being made. Rather, they appear to emanate from a wish to see the welfare state rolled back,” the policy document stated. It said proposals to eliminate poverty and social exclusion should continue to be a worthy goal despite the recession, and that quality social services should be available to all who need them in areas such as health, education, social housing and public transport.

“We need to move from a world that is built on individualism, anxiety and greed to a world that is built on the reality of abundance, the need for generosity, the dignity of the person and the centrality of the common good,” its director Fr Seán Healy said.

Cori Justice, one of the social partners, is still engaged in the current recovery talks. Its influence was most apparent in the aftermath of the 2004 local and European elections when it was credited with influencing the Government’s social policies.