Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar launching his Welfare Cheats Cheat Us All campaign in April

You may recall how Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar launched his €200,845 Welfare Cheats Cheat Us All campaign last month.

In the relation to the launch, at the time, the Irish Independent reported:

Mr Varadkar said the facial recognition technology associated with the [public service] card was helping the Department of Social Protection find “doppelgangers” who try to double claim payments.

There are quite a few out there,” he said. The facial recognition software can identify ‘double people’ out there. “Even people putting on make-up and beards and stuff. None of that works because it’s all based on bone structure.”

Further to this…

Sarah Bardon, in The Irish Times, reports:

The Department of Social Protection has identified just one suspected case of identity fraud this year, it has emerged.

The department said in response to a parliamentary question that 134 suspected cases had been identified between 2014 and April this year, with 21 successful prosecutions so far, and 18 people receiving custodial sentences.

‘Single case’ of social-welfare identity fraud suspected this year (Sarah Bardon, The Irish Times)

Welfare cheats using make-up and fake beards to get benefits won’t beat the ID software, warns Varadkar (Irish Independent)

48 thoughts on “How Many?

  1. Henry Woods

    The entire Government is a fraud in any shape or guise.
    Leo here is clearly in a job he has no hope of ever being inept or successful in.
    He’s had 4-5 ministerial positions and every time he’s shuffled off to the next one he’s left a mess of the department he was in previous.
    He ran for the leadership just so he can get out of the job he has now, and if he succeeds, he’ll have an auld cabinet reshuffle and put his buddies in ministerial positions merry-go-round and none of them will be qualified for them.
    Varadkar is an alt-politician.

    1. woodenwoods

      blah blah blah blah. Government is a fraud. What shape . What guise? Jaysus. Ask yourself before you post ” does this commment make any sense” . ” Is it coherent”.” Does it even meet the standard of pass Junior Cert English ?”

      1. jj

        certainly makes a lot more sense than spending more than 200 grand on a campaign to eradicate something of which there has only been one recorded case in five months, in the entire country.

        1. Stephen

          the campaign cost does not include the face identification technology likely rolled out across the country as a considerable cost

      2. MoyestWithExcitement

        “blah blah blah blah.”

        You forgot to capitalise (that’s when you make a letter bigger than the others) the ‘b’ in the first ‘blah’.

        “Government is a fraud.”

        This is grammatically incoherent. Government is a collective term so you can’t give it a singular descriptor. What you meant was government is fraudulent.

        “What shape ”

        You forgot the question mark.

        “does this commment make any sense”

        And again.

        “Is it coherent”

        And again.

        “Does it even meet the standard of pass Junior Cert English ?”

        You mean the standard *required to* pass..etc.

        If this was a troll job though, top work.

  2. MoyestWithExcitement

    I used to think right wingers were consciously evil. We were brought up to believe they were pragmatic professionals, after all. Trump, May and Varadkar prove that’s all a lie. Right wingers are ego machines whose motivation behind every idea and policy is to assert and validate their core belief that they are superior to most people. Right wingers are just overgrown toddlers. There is no logic nor honest reasoning behind their ideology and policies. ‘I’m special. Poor people are lazy. Muslims are uncivilised. So we need welfare fraud hotlines and strict immigration control.’ Unfortunately, toddlers who throw big enough tantrums often get what they want. It’s an unfortunate kink in human nature that the less you care about others, the more power and influence you will usually get over others.

  3. Mourinho

    Isn’t it possible that the system has worked, as a deterrent?

    I’ve no proof that it did.
    You have no proof that it didn’t.

    Welfare cheats do cheat us all.
    Bank bailouts cheat us all too.
    One does not negate the other.

    As for launching the campaign, well he’s doing his job.
    He could have done it with more subtlety, but he also works in politics.

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      No. People are good. People do good things because they are good, not because they are threatened with punishment if they don’t. Now, YOU might only restrain yourself from doing bad things because you’re afraid of the punishment but most people decide against bad things because they are good. Also a “welfare fraud” who can barely feed her kids gaming the system for a couple of hundred a month extra is not, in any way, the same as a millionaire gaming the system who increase his bank balance by 10%.

  4. scottser

    if they spent that two hundred grand on a task force that operates between here and the uk, they’d have most of their fraudsters identified pretty quickly, i’d say.

  5. DoleObserver

    While acknowledging that he is Minister for the DSP, the fact that he thinks the most important aspect of his role as Minister is to run a public campaign targeting Welfare Fraud and Single Mothers, tells you pretty much everything you need to know about this politician and what they stand for. The guy is small time.

  6. Increasing Displacement

    Coming from a community of people who were repressed and tarred for so long in this country you’d think he would have some empathy for the poor and struggling


  7. :-Joe

    Varadker is our 21st century Obama-esque false idol of the moment.

    A modern version in the cycle of distraction if you get my drift… a distraction from all the latest but mostly reoccuring scandals that most of these bad versions of prostitutes in power ultimately do not care about as long as they can find an escape route.

    Leo is obviously not black but he is gay and with all due respect and no harm intended to anyone other than those who swallow this nonsense like good medicine… this in fact makes him interesting and fascinating in many ways. The least but the most obvious one is the novelty factor of a male homosexual from mixed race descent becoming the leader of the Fine To Fail coalition of the nothing going on here party keep so moving on and mind your own business.

    Just like Obama and the Americans, the Irish public will be distracted by red vs blue team as usual but now with a similar new twist. Interesting, somewhat exotic, modern guy vs somewhat boring, but old school reliable dude and the winner gets to face off with Mr.Monty Burns from “The Simpsons” at the next popularity election pageant. Meanwhile the same problems persist and there’s always a regular dose of new ones that get the same treatment. Get in line for the five steps forward and then four steps back process…….

    Varadker knows sweet fk all about any of his ministerial positions apart from how to look sufficiently interested and follow orders to the letter. If this is the best candidate they can find, it is starting to make ennNNNNNDDDDAAAAAAAAAAH!!!! look like a real statesman and political leader. Dumb them down as much as possible and don’t worry because the 60% of voters who are complete morons never notice what’s being done to them so it never fails. The majority in government is certain for one half or the other of the Fine To Fail party.

    Progress can and does happen but it is very slow, far too slow and very hard fought.


    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      Thumbs up. Like so many of his colleagues, he is in love with the idea of being seen as powerful and influential and a leader of men. All his policy ideas are designed to help achieve that (continous) goal. He’s not coming at anything from a selfless, rational angle. It’s like Trump being surprised that healthcare was so complicated and saying that the Middle East political situation isn’t as complicated as people think. People like this are lazy, delusional, just not very bright and we all suffer for it.

  8. anne

    Do u not need a unique PPS number, regardless of how many wigs and fake beards you have

    1. :-Joe

      Yes but they find people that they can impersonate then steal their data, ID etc. and then register multiple new PPS numbers in different district ofiices.

      To be fair they are like drunks fighting at a festival. Always a problem but usually so few you would hardly notice.

      Another mythical political cause to sell as credibility and keep the angry morons happy.


  9. Jesus Wept

    A little known fact regarding the camera/software used with Ireland’s welfare system.A recurring problem arises anytime you photograph anybody with dark skin.The mouth has to be closed when capturing claimants pictures as standard,much like a passport.However as sometimes the skin is pinker where the lips meet the software interprets this as a smile and requests the that subject closes their mouth.Matching duplicates?,this technology has some way to go.

  10. postmanpat

    Leo really shouldn’t have done those stupid photos of him with that sign. It seems cheaper to let the moochers get away with not getting jobs than to try and catch them out. It sucks, but what’s the use of throwing good money after bad? Then again, like me, if one has to work to support a family then one might be less inclined to have kids they cant afford, which also end up in the dole queue just like mam and dad. No one likes to see a clan of doleys dragged up on the street they live in, but everyone knows of at least one family where the auld lad never worked a tap in their lives. Theirs a big red faced blowhard ex-hardshaw where I grew up in D14. Whos only purpose in life (apart from drinking , raising gurriers and smashing up the local pub) was to tear down all election posters and replace them with Fianna Fail ones every few years. He knew the best party to back to live his alternative lifestyle. He was FFs thug in the Rathfarnham area. (Anyone who lives there in the 80’s /90’s knows who I’m talking about.) I know the bankers etc get away with murder but that’s the way of the world rich people will always get away with everything. But the government going after welfare moochers isn’t some big brother going after the little guy situation. I work , I have availed of the scratch once or twice when I needed to so I don’t have anything to worry about except losing my job and jumping through hoops and being refused dole because of scabs milking the system for years and using up all of the money.

      1. postmanpat

        No, I was on jobseekers allowance for a month on two separate occasions, so 8 weeks in my 20 years of working. As opposed to hundreds of people who will happily stay on the scratch for ten to twenty five years and sire 8 kids between multiple partners . I don’t think I singlehandedly used up all the social welfare money of the entire country when I was between jobs for a few weeks. Learn to read and comprehend. Moron.

        1. anne

          There’s no need for the name calling now.. at what point does one become a scab?
          What about longterm illnesses? Are those people scabs?

          You do realise money is printed..

        2. MoyestWithExcitement

          “As opposed to hundreds of people who will happily stay on the scratch for ten to twenty five years and sire 8 kids between multiple partners.”

          “happily” Yeah, I’m sure they’re loving life. They’re definitely laughing at you for working as well. All long term unemployed people are laughing at us. Man I wish *I* was long term unemployed. It’s a great life.

  11. Shayna

    “Even people putting on make-up and beards and stuff.” Two hundred grand seems a tad cheap for software that The NSA and FBI claim costs millions to develop. I suppose though, the ends justify the means, they caught one guy who may have been in disguise, in make-up and beard and stuff – probably also bald who possibly may have parked in an expectant mother space at SuperValu.

  12. anne

    I’m looking at Leo -the early riser, holding his big red poster, looking like the new eejit at the helm.

    That’s some job all right standing there holding a poster in your suit ..great work if you can get it.

    Did he not used to have a job where he helped people? What sort of person does it take to go from being a GP to doing that?

    Would you not feel like bit of a failure? From a GP to this… the early riser would be better off doing a roll over & going back to sleep.

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