Tag Archives: Joan Burton

90346856[Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton}

Over 9,000 families are to lose their One-Parent Family Payment from today.
The change is dependent on the age of the claimant’s children, along with when the payment began…
By this time next year, almost 60,000 families will have lost the One-Parent Family Payment. “What it actually means for the nearly 60,000 families that are going to be moved off next year is that a lot of them are going to be down money, and they are already extraordinarily poor families, who are finding it difficult to make ends meet”, said Karen Kiernan, chief executive of One Family…

Like a boss.

9,000 one-parent families lose payment from today (RTE)

(Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)



Eamon Gimore at the launch of the Right to read Campaign in Charleville Mall Library in Dublin City this morning.

(Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)


90324032Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton


Stephen Rogers reports in today’s Irish Examiner that less than 10% of the Government’s target number of positions on the Gateway initiative have been filled.

With just 270 positions filled on its Gateway job activation programme, the Government has had to change the criteria for access to the scheme to try to attract more participants.

Under the terms of the Gateway initiative, dole claimants who have been on the Live Register for more than two years are paid an extra €20 per week on top of their jobseeker’s allowance to work for local authorities. An average of 19.5 hours per week is on offer in areas including village enhancement schemes; landscaping; tourism ambassadors; animal control; and libraries, and each placement lasts for 22 months.

The Government set a target of 3,000 positions to be filled by the end of the year. Yet by the end of this week only 270 had been taken up since the scheme was introduced more than 18 months ago.

Poor uptake prompts Gateway reform (Stephen Rogers, Irish Examiner)

Previously: Withholding The Dole

Forced Labour

Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland


On last night’s Tonight with Vincent Browne, Vincent was joined by Louise Bayliss of single parent action group SPARK Parents to review the papers.

A headline about the Labour leadership contest in the Irish Examiner grabbed her attention.

Vincent Browne: “Louise, what do you want to focus on?”

Louise Bayliss: “Well I’m just looking in here again. We’re having ‘Former Labour deputy backs Burton’, this is inside in the Irish Examiner, page 6 of the Irish Examiner. And you’re just looking at it and you’re saying Burton and…”

Browne: “This is [Labour stalwart and former government minister] Barry Desmond yeah.”

Louise Bayliss: “You’re looking and going [Joan]Burton and Alex White, you know what is the choice there? Like, I feel sorry, I genuinely I say this hand on heart, I feel sorry for grassroot Labour members who put their faith in Labour and are now coming up with a contest between Minister Burton and Alex White. I mean Minister Burton, I know I’m coming from a lone parent’s point of view but only two weeks ago I was at a meeting in the Department of Social Protection where they were talking about the cuts coming in place for lone parents and for some reason even though I would be very aware of what was happening, I never expected that they would make no exception for lone parents with a disabled child and they haven’t. And from next July, a lone parent with a disabled child will lose €86 a week from their weekly income when their child turns 7. For no other reason, their child turns 7, they lose €86 from their weekly income. 27% of their income, that’s a decision made specifically by Minister Burton. That’s not imposed on her by anybody, that was chosen by her and when we’ve tried to put this out she will not listen us. And then we have the other choice of..”

Browne: “Have you spoken to her about this?”

Bayliss: “We have spoken to her.”

Browne: “Person to person?”

Bayliss: “I actually have spoken to her person to person.”

Browne: “And what did she say?”

Bayliss: [Waves hand] “We’ll sort it out, we’ll sort it out. She basically would not debate with us. We’ve written to her. I spoke to her face to face and she just literally just waved me aside as if my concerns meant nothing and you know I think we’re talking about austerity and I do not know any other sector who could take a 27% cut in their income and yet a lone parent; 98% who are women, are going to lose 27% of their income because their disabled child turns 7. They are no more able to work when their child was 6. They are trapped at home and there’s nobody speaking up for them and you know when I look at this and I know that Labour grassroot members hear what I’m saying and they look and they have this choice to make between Minister White who defended medical card cuts and Minister Burton who thinks a lone parent with a disabled child can bear the most cuts, I feel saddened for the Labour party.”

Browne: “Do you think it makes any difference who’s Labour leader?”

Bayliss: “No, I don’t. At this stage, I don’t. Not from the choices that are made here.”

Watch in full here.

Previously: Joan And The Vulnerable


Labour leadership hopeful Joan Burton appeared on last night’s Saturday Night Show with Brendan O’Connor to set out her stall and attempt to explain Labour’s betrayal of “the most vulnerable in society”.

Joan Burton: “…Simply creating an economy without a society is not enough.”

Brendan O’Connor: “A year ago you spoke about the limits of austerity. I presume you didn’t have this epiphany in the last week?

Joan Burton: “No.”

O’Connor: “If you had acted on this earlier…”

Burton: “Well a government is a collaborative effort. and I think you have to keep putting your ideas forward because obviously in modern politics there’s probably two different views. If you sort of look after very wealthy people and their wealth grows well some of that will trickle down. My view has always been very strongly – and it’s a Labour view – that you build a strong, eh, you build a strong middle class, people at work, people who pay the taxes, pay the PRSI, that keeps the social welfare system going and that  you have to do that, there’s two different…One is building from the middle and the other is top down.”

O’Connor: “But I suppose the middle didn’t feel that ye were doing that. There were a lot of broken promises there and Joan really people felt terribly betrayed by you  because you said certain things and you made certain promises and that was all gone.”

Burton: “I think what a lot of people felt and said to me was a sense of disappointment and ‘not this time’ and certainly I think the Labour party going into the last election made promises that the economic situation just didn’t allow us to do.”

O’Connor: “But had you not looked into the economic situation before you made the promises not to be smart about it.”

Burton:“Well a couple of things happened. First of all we inherited….you know I was the biggest critic of the bank guarantee because I advised the Labour Party to vote against it which we did. But the reality is once a national government has made a decision turning that around to change that decision, get relief on the bank debt…we’ve got relief now amounting probably to some €30 billion in terms of putting it out long term and getting lower interest rates but we still need the same amount again. That’s the art I suppose  of government aswell as politics. You say this is my goal. Maybe it’s like building a team and if this is team Ireland it’s going to take time to get businesses and people back on their feet. And also as I say the social side, the social investment….”

O’Connor: “On the social side. There was this issue  that was bubbling away probably for a year. It came to a crescendo around the time of the election and it’s finally being dealt with now.  Why didn’t Labour spot the medical cards thing or do something about it? This should have been  a classic kind of Labour core value stuff. The most vulnerable people in our society. It’s an overused phrase but a lot of these people were. How come you let it go as far as you let it go?”

Burton: Well I think we got it wrong and for that I would like to apologise. The notion that anybody who had a long term serious illness like say Motor Neurone disease or parents of a child who had say Spina bifida or a Downs [syndrome]…”

O’Connor: “Did you not see it? Did you not see the all the stories in the papers for the last year? Did you think this was a peripheral issue?”

Burton: “Well remember we had the Troika on our backs for three years and happily they left. And then there started to be a bit of movement. Now I…the taoiseach has said tonight and I want to welcome what he said, that that [medical cards issue] is going to be sorted both in the review in terms of what is going to happen people in the future but also the people who lost the medical cards and obviously I know a lot of people personally who lost them and I have to say I couldn’t quite make out.”

“And that’s going to be fixed now.”

Burton: “…I, I, I hope it’s going to be fixed. That’s what we’re going to do. We will be talking about it at cabinet on Tuesday. You know for instance in Social Protection there are things which have been very difficult. In this period it’s been hard on different ministers in all levels of the government. At the same time if you go around Ireland we’re building new schools and rebuilding old schools everywhere. So that’s a social success and it puts people back to work.”

Right so.

Watch back here

Picture-811[Joan Burton on the Saturday Night Show in 2011]

You may recall her memorable performance in  2011.

Via RTE:

“This week on The Saturday Night Show, Brendan [O'Connor] will be joined by Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton to talk about why she wants to be leader of The Labour Party…”

No wait , come back

“The hilarious Carrie Fisher will take to the couch to talk about growing up as Hollywood royalty, and why she’s returning to the role that defined her in Star Wars.”

The Saturday Night Show at 9.50 on RTÉ One.

Thanks Melanie


[Joan Burton, deputy leader of the Labour Party and Eamon Gilmore, former leader]

“They knew very well that they were destroying the Labour Party and with it the honourable social democratic tradition it represented. They decided to do it anyway.”

“…It has taken just three years for Sinn Féin to turn the logic of what Labour did in 2011 into stark electoral numbers. They are quite staggering: in 2011, Labour’s vote was twice Sinn Féin’s. In 2014, Sinn Féin’s was nearly three times Labour’s…”

From tragedy to farce: Labour’s big mistakes in 1918 and 2011 (Fintan O’Toole, Irish Times)


Anti-Austerity Alliance writes:

The Connell family from Blanchardstown, Dublin, have been made homeless through a combination of rent allowance cuts and rack-renting by their landlord. Fingal County Council have no houses. The family cannot get any alternative rented accommodation within rent allowance limits. They are split up…the family are staging a protest at Joan Burton’s Department of Social Protection on Store Street in Dublin tomorrow at 11am, asking ‘Where is the social protection’? They will be supported by their family and members of the local Anti-Austerity Alliance.

More here


[Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton with Labour TD John Lyons, Labour MEP Phil Prendergast, Tánaiste and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore and Labour TD Ciara Conway at a Labour party think-in at Johnstown House in Co. Meath last September]

Ms Burton told Newstalk this morning that, while she will be in New York with Taoiseach Enda Kenny on St Patrick’s Day, she will not be attending the city’s St Patrick’s Day parade, which has banned public displays of gay pride.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer, who last week told the Dáil how he was ‘beaten, spat [at], chased, harassed, and mocked’ for being gay, has said he’d prefer if Mr Kenny didn’t attend the parade.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio is boycotting the event.

Buttimer would ‘prefer’ if Kenny didn’t attend New York parade (Irish Times)