Dáil live: Sinn Féin says strategy of Government was to ‘conceal’ on disability payments

Dáil stock images Micheál Martin Pearse Doherty general shot


Tánaiste Micheál Martin has been answering questions in the Dáil on nursing home charges legal challenge controversy, the disability allowance and the ongoing anti-immigrant protests. Continue watching Dáil proceedings live here:


In response to Mr Boyd Barrett, the Tánaiste says there have been many significant redress schemes over the last 25 years. He says there are around 30 sensitive cases the Government are alerted to, all of them with significant cost implications for the State.

Mr Martin says that the ultimate challenge is whether the current generation keep paying for the historic wrongs or instead concentrate on the current needs and demands of people.

The Tánaiste adds this is taxpayers’ money and that “we are all birds of passage here”. He says these are not popular decisions and there needs to be an honest debate about “how far back do we go, how much we do pay”.


People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett has asked why successive Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael Governments, many that the Tánaiste was a part of, have “pursued a systematic strategy of denying rights and entitlements to vulnerable people and to people who have been wronged by the State”.

The Dun Laoghaire TD points to the disability allowance payments, women affected by the Cervical Check scandal, as well as survivors of mother and baby homes being excluded from the State’s redress scheme and the nursing home strategy.


In response to Ms Bacik, the Tánaiste says there is a cross departmental approach. He says it has to be acknowledged this is the largest humanitarian operation ever undertaken by the State.

Mr Martin says there has never been such a large number of refugees fleeing war and coming to Ireland. He says the Russian attack has been vicious and deliberately designed to create a migration crisis.

The Tánaiste says 73,000 have been accommodated between Ukrainian refugees and international protection applicants.

He says there is an acknowledgement that there could be better communication in respect of some aspects of this. Mr Martin says the €50 million community fund is very important and is for those who have been very responsive to welcoming large numbers of refugees.

He says teachers have also gone to great lengths to work with Ukrainian children. Mr Martin says the first batch of modular homes for refugees will be coming on stream within weeks.

He says the State want to develop and accelerate the pace of building for refugees and social housing.


Labour leader Ivana Bacik is up next and says she has called for a more co-ordinated approach by the Government to the housing of refugees and those seeking international protection.

She says we are still seeing the location of housing and provision of resources of those feeling war being done “ad hoc” by Government.

Ms Bacik says there is insufficient communication for Opposition parties, local representatives and communities offering solidarity. She says a centralised approach is needed by Government in getting out information to local communities in a timely way when new accommodation is being opened.

The Dublin Bay South TD says it’s undeniable there are “sinister actors” trying to further a far-right agenda in all of this, seeking to exploit an information vacuum in order to sow fear and distrust in local communities.

She says there have been awful reports of intimidation of families and children by protestors and one of Labour’s own public representatives threatened during a public meeting. Ms Bacik says these incidents must be condemned. She was speaking amid continued protests around the country about the presence of direct provision centres, including a protest in Finglas, Dublin on Wednesday night.


In response to the Sinn Féin deputy leader, Mr Martin says in terms of the nursing home strategy and the disability allowance issue they were of a historic nature in how they evolved. He says public policy was transparent from the outset in respect of both issues.

Mr Martin says Government will get updated every six months on sensitive litigation cases, and that there could be 30 cases at any one time.

Dáil stock images Micheál Martin Pearse Doherty general shot

He says that list is culled from a further list of about 200 cases of litigation against the State that are within the Attorney General’s Office. Mr Martin says the State Claims Agency was established 20 years ago and it decides now how the State defends various cases.

He says in the last two and a half years the Government has already to committed to about €6 billion in retrospective payments.


Hello there, Sarah Burns reporting from Leinster House where Leaders’ Questions have just kicked off. First up is Sinn Féin’s deputy leader Pearse Doherty who says up to 12,000 citizens were denied their entitlement to a modest allowance in relation to their disability.

He says this was a cold, callous strategy and that the Tánaiste was at the heart of the Government at the time, that he was the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Mr Doherty says Michéal Martin was party to the strategy and party to agreeing it. He says it was a deliberate and calculated strategy that was “really hurtful” for many families.

The Sinn Féin TD is referring the RTÉ Prime Time report on Tuesday which said up to 12,000 vulnerable people had been denied disability allowance payments by the State. It outlined a government memo from 2009 putting the cost at €700 million.