Sinn Féin TD for Meath West Johnny Guirke has called for support for a motion, put forward by party Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty, that calls on government to introduce a Spring Bonus for those relying on working age social welfare payments, including pensioners, people with disabilities, carers and lone parents.Deputy Guirke said that the time for action is now, and called on government to implement the proposal, which will be debated in the Dáil on Tuesday, along with additional necessary measures to alleviate the burden on those bearing the brunt of the cost of living cri

He told Meath Live, “Households are struggling with record energy bills, rising food costs and increased mortgage repayments. “This week, Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty will table a motion for the government to commit to the payment of a ‘Spring Bonus’ for those relying on working age social welfare payments including pensioners, people with disabilities, carers and lone parents.“Once again, the government has been too slow to act.

“Ministers Paschal Donohoe and Michael McGrath in Budget 2023 failed to protect people on lower and fixed incomes from rising inflation and the growing cost of living pressures, while social welfare rates were cut in real terms given the current rates of inflation.“Almost 595,000 people, 11.6%, in this state now live on incomes below the poverty line, while the latest Barnardo’s report shows that food poverty is worsening with 10% of parents forced to use food banks in 2022 and 29% reported skipping meals to ensure their children could eat. “Average gas bills have gone up by around 140% over the past two years, while the average electricity bill has increased by around 115%. The ESRI estimates households in energy poverty have increased to 29%; a record high. “That is why we believe a ‘Spring Bonus’ is necessary for those on working age social protection payments, along with additional measures, needed for those bearing the brunt of this crisis.”