Welfare recipients not a burden, says Burton

Social transfers in society promote ‘social solidarity’

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has said the perception of welfare recipients as a burden on the taxpayer and the economy with few societal benefits is completely wrong.

Ms Burton said yesterday that social transfers in society were essential in supporting wellbeing and reducing inequality through the redistribtion of income. That, she said, promoted social solidarity.

The Minister was speaking at a conference on social transfers and poverty alleviation in Ireland held at the Economic and Social Research Institute. The conference coincided with the publication of an ESRI report which showed the proportion of households' income that came from social welfare increased by 50 per cent between 2004 and 2011.

Ms Burton said the findings showed the impact of transfers in cushioning people from the worst effects of rising unemployment and falling income.


“The findings are unambiguous. Social transfers, including pensions, reduced the at-risk-of-poverty rate by 53 per cent in 2004, rising to 71 per cent by 2011,” she said.

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times