Value of cash payments

 

Sir, – Fintan O’Toole’s view (“The pandemic has shown that the real wonder drug is money”, September 11th) is no real surprise to those of us who work in overseas aid.

We have used “cash schemes” for decades, bringing a small level of dignity to the lives of extremely poor people or those affected by a sudden onset emergency. The worry that cash would make people dependent or lazy was also completely unfounded in our programmes. Quite the opposite in fact. The predictability of these small cash payments was a key element in their success, as it allowed poor people to “plan” – something they just could not do while worried where their next meal was coming from.

Hopefully a positive outcome from this pandemic and the payments like the pandemic unemployment payment, will be the acceptability of the need for a universal basic income, not just in Ireland, but globally to allow poorer people to live a dignified life. – Yours, etc,

PAUL O’BRIEN

CEO, Plan International

Ireland,

Dublin 8.