A Galway TD has called for the full restoration of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment to its earlier levels amid the prospect of a return to lockdown.
Donegal and Dublin are both currently at Level 3 restrictions in the government’s Plan for Living with COVID-19, while the rest of the country is at Level 2.
However, Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Dr Ronan Glynn, Acting Chief Medical Officer, have both said that additional restrictions could be imposed on other counties, including Galway, as case numbers rise.
Galway-Roscommon TD Claire Kerrane said that “vital income supports” must continue as people face the possibility of further lockdown restrictions, and that the Pandemic Unemployment Payment needs to go back to its old level of €350 a week.
“Many will have only just returned to work in recent days and are now facing the prospect of unemployment again.”
“This will cause huge stress and uncertainty at a time when so many people are already struggling financially.”
“As other counties face the prospect of similar restrictions as Donegal, workers across the state need clarity about what financial supports will be available to them.”
She said that cuts to the pandemic unemployment payments need to be reversed, and the scheme restored to its earlier level.
The Pandemic Unemployment Payment initially paid €350 a week to those who had lost their jobs due to COVID-19.
However, as of last week there are now three bands to the scheme, paying €300, €250, or €203 a week based on your prior income.
There were 10,534 people in Galway on the PUP scheme this week, out of 209,941 recipients nationwide.
“Sinn Féin have been calling for the PUP to remain at the previous level of €350 per week, until the end of this year at the very least.”
Kerrane also said that some businesses which have had high turnover in July and August have subsequently lost access to financial supports, and that this must be corrected.
“Workers and businesses deserve clarity and support as they face these hugely challenging circumstances. The Government needs to act decisively now.”