‘The Real Figure Stands At €41million’


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Fine Gael TD and Minister for Protection Leo Varadkar launching his Welfare Cheats Cheat Us All campaign last week

You may recall the launch of Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar’s Welfare Cheats Cheat Us All campaign.

And Mr Varadkar saying that “a range of anti-fraud and control measures in the Department of Social Protection saved taxpayers more than €500million” in 2016.

And Sinn Féin TD Eoin O’Bróin questioning Mr Varadkar’s figure of €500million in last weekend’s Sunday Business Post.

After going through Department of Social Protection’s Fraud and Error Surveys, annual Comptroller and Auditor General reports and parliamentary questions, Mr O’Bróin claimed that the number of welfare overpayments, due to errors by claimants or department staff, are much more significant than fraudulent welfare claims and that the errors cost more than the fraudulent claims.

Further to this…

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady has released a statement, saying:

“Last week, Minister Varadkar launched a ‘Welfare Cheats Cheat Us All’ advertising and online campaign set to cost the taxpayer €204,000. Initially, the department was unable to provide the total cost of this campaign but they have since advised me of this figure.

“The Department of Social Protection have claimed that they achieved overall savings of €506 million in 2016 as a result of ‘control and anti-fraud measures’. However, the actual calculation of this figure leaves more questions than answers. In fact, in the Department’s own words, it is based on nothing more than an assumption. The real figure from Department officials, received by the media today, stands at €41 million.

“The Department developed a bizarre method of calculation using multipliers where they assume that an excess payment would have continued to be paid for a set future period and therefore, they multiply the payment by an assumed length of time. In the case of Carer’s Allowance and Disability Allowance, the payment is multiplied by 136.

“When we look at the figures from past reviews undertaken by the Department, it clearly shows that the real issue to be tackled is the prevalence of over-payments rather than fraud. This is reflected in a number of previous Controller and Auditor General Reports which showed that between 2007 and 2011, 50% of all overpayments were due to error while 38% of overpayments were due to fraud.

Minister’s so-called anti-fraud campaign ‘a new low in leadership bid’ – Brady (Sinn Fein)

Previously: Populist Chancer Cheats Us All



Assistant Secretary Department of Social Protection Kathleen Stack and the Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar at the launch of the ‘Welfare Cheats Cheat Us All’ campaign.

The Department of Social Protection press office responded this evening.

In a statement it said:

“‘The ‘Welfare Cheats – Cheat Us All‘ campaign, launched last week, aims to:

Raise awareness and challenge the culture around how Social Welfare Fraud is perceived –it is not a victimless crime;

Encourage the reporting of suspected fraud to the Department of Social Protection-anonymously via phone/or online; and

Demonstrate the considerable control reviews and investigations activity by the Department of Social Protection

In 2016, the Department achieved overall savings of €506m as a result of control and anti-fraud measures. This reflects the 950,000 reviews of individual claims undertaken by the Department last year to determine on-going entitlements.

These savings are an estimate of the value of the various control activities (entitlement reviews and inspections) undertaken across the Department’s various schemes.

The €506m in control savings does not include any cases where the customer voluntarily told the Department of changes in their means or circumstances which resulted in a reduction in the rate of payment or termination of their claim.

The overall control and anti-fraud savings figure is – and always has been – based on the assumption that, had the excess payment not been detected as a result of our control work, it would have continued for at least a set future period.

The €506m figure, therefore, represents the value of future social welfare expenditure which was avoided, owing to proactive investigations and reviews.”

Minister Leo Varadkar added:

‘The Department raised €110m in overpayments last year of which €41m related to customer fraud. Over €82m was actually recovered last year. These are the amounts detected and recovered and represent a figure that must be below the actual level of fraud given the volume that goes undetected or cannot be recovered.

Arguing about the exact amount, the difference between control, fraud and error misses one undeniable fact – millions is defrauded from the taxpayer through the social welfare system. It’s a crime and cracking down on it frees up much needed resources to expand entitlements or return to taxpayers.”


85 thoughts on “‘The Real Figure Stands At €41million’

  1. dav

    No mention of the 13billion Apple is cheating out of us, or the billions the banks stole out of the country to pay their gambling debts??
    Really goes to show, that it you gotta steal, steal big – governments will suck up to you afterwards..

    1. Anomanomanom

      You should be blocked from this site, its the same thing over and over. I hope someone makes GM’s a blue apple in the future, it might shut you up.

          1. dav

            @Anomanomanom I think the evidence shows you brought your precious blushirts into the above debate, not I. Must be some sort of pavlovian response they drill into you in merrion sq like the good sheep that you are..

          2. Anomanomanom

            I agree with you dav, I did bring them in to it. I was making the might if its not apple tax its blue shirts. And dav I know no political party in Ireland called the blue shirts and not thats its your business but I support soc dem.

    2. Boj

      Ireland is the hooker of the world. The big ‘lads’ come in, ride seven shades of **** out of us, then throw a few quid on the locker on their way out, while we sit on the edge of the bed knowing we can do very little about it. Does this make the EU our ‘pimp’? Hmmm

  2. MoyestWithExcitement

    “50% of all overpayments were due to error while 38% of overpayments were due to fraud.”

    Yes but the vulnerable poor people of this country must be demonised and blamed for our problems, lest we begin to question the actions of our Dear Leaders.

    1. Jonickal

      We shouldn’t demonise the poor and blame them for our problems.

      We shouldn’t also be handing out welfare money that isn’t supposed to be.

          1. Steve

            Ah listen I want the 13billion,
            Is it not sitting in an escrow account somewhere?


            Don’t commission need to figure out what states it’s going to and how much – day 2 issue.

            Main thing is Apple is 13 bill out of pocket until ECJ rules in our favour. Happy days no??

            I’d like the 38% fraud money to go to people who need it. Pointing out Apple tax fraud doesn’t invalidate trying to cut down on welfare fraud

          2. MoyestWithExcitement

            No I just reminded someone that Apple cheated us out of €13 billion. You imagined the rest.

    1. realPolithicks

      +1. I wouldn’t trust him or any member of this government to tell the truth about anything.

  3. Sheik Yahbouti

    Ah, it keeps his smug mug on the TV and the front pages – that’s all this great ‘campaign’ is designed to do.

  4. DubLoony

    Equating people on welfare with criminal activities is low. Sure, there is a small amount of fraud, like a relative still claiming dear old grans pension but its minuscule compared to people who are evading taxes.

    1. nellyb

      add manual administrative costs to it, because public service has no automation. we’ll spend a billion for paper rustling and nothing back :-)

          1. Cian

            Twice in the last two weeks I’ve dealt with the public service.
            I got the results of my driving test emailed to me within 40 minutes of finishing it.
            I registered with revenue.ie and got details posted to me.

            Both of these were automated.

  5. ahjayzis

    There’s transparent bids to become leader of a right wing party and then there’s basically writing it in poo on the nation’s wall.

  6. By Popular Demand, Frilly Keane

    Welfare Office Mistakes CHEATS US ALL
    Poo Contributory Pension CHEATS US ALL

  7. martco

    Varadkar is nothing more than a morkeshing fart always has always is time and time again. and this gay icon crap really grates, utter self promoting drivel. it amazes me how people continue to be surprised by this calculating tory spiv

  8. Kolmo

    Keep up the good work BS, people keep voting for these cut-throats swindler careerists because of the 500 million craic he was pulling out of his arse this morning…

    Who suggested this was a good idea, what cynical, ditch-minded ape in FG thought paying millions for an advertising campaign demonising the most powerless in society was a good idea? ..chrisht, it’s worse they’re getting…

    1. Birneybau2

      €204,000, as stated above, spent on the advertising campaign.

      Which, like yourself, I find horrible and cynical.

  9. MoyestWithExcitement

    “Welfare Cheats Cheat Us All”

    This is a truly disgusting central message for an advertising campaign. Our government are getting big megaphone to tell us to be wary of sneaky poor people who “hurt us all”. Class warfare in 2017. Leo Varadkar is legitimately dangerous.

  10. Eoin

    Fraud? Fraud over what? 170 Euros a week? A few bob more? If you are engaged in welfare fraud you are pretty much at the bottom of the ladder in society already. And you should be low on the governments priority list. Now Leo is coming after you like you are the source of all Irelands problems? Can’t remember ever seeing any politician standing out on the street giving a press conference on the bankers he was going to go after for condemning the nation to the status of onerous debt slave? Bill Black turned up at our banking ‘enquiry’ with EVIDENCE of criminality and he was thrown out on the grounds of potential libel.. This country is a hole (our politicians won’t stop digging at it).

          1. Steve

            Come on like let’s not beat around the bush – you hate everything the “establishment” parties do / say because of your tin foil they’re all traitors hat.

            Pretty much in the same way I hate SF IRA coz I know they they are murderers / criminals / paedo protectors

          2. Sheik Yahbouti

            SF/IRA. Is that you, Arlene, or are you really Eoghan Harris (disappointed Il Duce and VBF of Bertie)??

          1. scottser

            no, it really isn’t. ‘fraud’ is a label only applied to the general public. it does not apply to those in positions of power and authority.

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      The issue here has been explained to you several times. Why are you persisting with your conscious lie?

        1. know man is an island

          Hardly in the closet though. He’s pretty open about it. The problem is he’s in denial about his rampant class-based snobbery.

    2. mildred st. meadowlark

      Happy/Harry (which is it you prefer btw?), I think that your point might have more resonance if the bankers who gambled with our money had been held accountable, if those cheats and criminals had been made to pay for their crime. They also stole from all of us.

      I’m not saying welfare fraud is ok, coz it’s not. But the double standards are sickening, and smacks of an attack on some of the poorest in society.

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        Nobody said welfare fraud is ok. Dishonest bootlickers know that nobody said that but they are dishonest bootlickers so they sneer at a straw man.

        1. jusayinlike

          It’s their fig leaf moyest, like excessive consumption with water, right-wing gombeen politics..

      2. Happy Molloy

        sure we’d all love to see that shower locked up Mildred, that’s obvious, that doesn’t mean trying to prevent welfare fraud is an attack on social welfare recipients. it’s ridiculous hyperbole

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          Once again, the issue is the ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN, not the idea of dealing with welfare fraud. But you knew that. Or maybe I’m giving you too much credit and you somehow didn’t despite everyone saying it was the problem.

      3. know man is an island

        Bull. They have been held accountable Mildred, in accordance with the law. Fraud is very hard to prove and the banks are able to mount a coherent defence because of regulation and lapses in oversight- namely the “public ownership” that the many lefty contrarian Trotskyist shills on this site love so much.

  11. GiggidyGoo

    How much have we been cheated out of by Fianna Gael’s sops to Red Acted? Is Zappone’s mileage included?

  12. bisted

    …this is populist nonsense but it works with some people…the only trouble is that Joan Burton squeezed every bit of publicity out of it years ago…and nobody was better at grand-standing than Joany

  13. anne

    I know one or two who are getting cash in hand and 188 or whatever it is from social welfare.
    I’d say they’re earning about 450 a week total.

    It’s really even none of my business except that they’ve told me.
    Leo could kiss my bottom if he thinks I’d ever report anyone..

    But let’s say we were believe the nonsense figures he has come up with, that welfare fraud costs us 500 million. How much would it cost to have investigators follow people around to see if they’re working? Or call to the door of a single mother and check under the bed for a boyfriend?

    Complete and utter nonsense campaign, only being used to demonise people on welfare. If it were 500 million, what resources have been allocated to catch people? Would it be none..

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