The Unaffordable Welfare State


Judge Nolan imposed a three year suspended sentence and noted that if Cullen was 20 years younger she would probably be facing prison. The Department of Social Protection has reduced Cullen’s pension payments by €35 a week since the theft was discovered*


She’ll really make a dent in the amount stolen at €35 per week


If you are convicted of welfare fraud you should never again be allowed to claim welfare of any kind. If you starve, tough shit. You shouldn’t have committed fraud


So in other words, no punishment at all.

Why have we collectively decided that nobody in this country should ever be held responsible for anything??


I wonder whether tapering off child benefit/welfare after a certain number of children would make a difference. Looking at it purely from a financial point of view for the state (and ignoring for a moment any social or other disadvantages that do or do not apply to the children of lone parents), the main problem seems to be single mothers with large numbers of children where child benefit and welfare can become a forever life style choice funded by the state for decades. It doesn’t seem to me to be unreasonable to look at policies which would keep intact supports for lone parents with one or two children (and which would also encourage them to work outside the home when children reached a certain age, with support for low cost childcare) but draw the line at continuing to support mothers who keep on having children without partners and thereby manage to get to child benefit levels that start to act as a permanent income.

[Hides from flying objects being thrown]


I think a point that has been repeatedly made is this “without partners” thing. The social welfare structure here provides a big incentive for mothers to claim to be single mothers even if they’re not. Hence we’re top of the European single mothers league.

I suspect a big step to resolving this would be to chase the fathers for every penny of the single parent supplements, as well as child support. Just garnish it by default unless a paternity test clears them. Of course that provides a disincentive to declare the real father…


What if support is provided for the first child of a lone parent - accidents happen (while pursuing the father for payments).
Any more children and she gets cut completely - no exceptions.

Imo, the only way to control the issue is to cut back on payments. There’s no other way is there?

Any genuine unfortunates can reach out to family, friends or charities.

Is that so harsh.


TBH, I see a lot of people’s finances and single mothers with a lot of children aren’t that common. I’d say one is the norm. When you see a large family on social welfare they tend to be an ethnic minority and there tends to be a partner. A mother with one child gets €217 a week + child benefit. Is it really worth while to have another kid for an extra €29 a week and €140 a month? What will be interesting to see is that now that people are pushed off One Parent Family onto Job Seekers when the child hits seven, will there be children at 7 year gaps… You do occasionally see children 18 years apart under the old rules.


No flying objects here. I was a working lone parent for a few years and ran up against the difficulties in affording housing and childcare in an ever-heating Dublin market. I sometimes felt like a fool for working when I knew so many who weren’t. But here’s the thing: all the genuine lone parents I knew then had just one child, and were working. It was doable if you had a reasonable office job although childcare was crippling and you often had to have flatmates or share a one-bedroom flat with your child. However, I knew lots of “lone parents” with bigger families who were not genuine lone parents at all, and had their partners living with them fulltime and supporting them. That was what gave me the rage because they came up in the stats as lone parents when they were no such thing, and skewed the figures for everyone else. They were effectively living the lives of the married women of my mother’s generation in the 70s and 80s, all stay at home mums except that life was now unaffordable for them because of the cost of housing and was being supplemented by the taxpayer.

I found those in officialdom totally apathetic about the obstacles faced by genuine lone parents. I was told I had no chance of social housing because I was working and a housing officer advised me to have another child even when I pointed out that I didn’t have a boyfriend! I felt they were quite happy to let people just sit around and throw money at them to keep them quiet and ignore the deep generational problems it was causing. So I’ve been conflicted about the new stricter measures. I really believe something needed to be done about an issue that was costing the state over a billion a year (the numbers claiming LPA doubled in the space of 10-15 years) and miring people in permanent worklessness. But the new rules don’t solve the problems of scarce and unaffordable housing, expensive childcare and inflexibility from employers. It looks more like appearing to do something because there’s a measure of public ill-will towards single parents, partly because there are so many blatant scammers who abuse the system. I am not sure how cutting payments for subsequent children would help much. The real answer would be for people to be incentivised to work but the other problem there (and I await flying objects myself here) is that half a billion people now have access to our labour market and will do low skilled low paid jobs far more willingly and cheaply than some lone parent struggling to make work pay for her. There’s no incentive for employers to pay more or offer better conditions or flexibility in that part of the labour market, it’s a seller’s market. And that’s a hard genie to put back in the bottle. It’s very complicated.


Am I missing something? Am I the only person staring at the 3D picture and not seeing the illusion while everybody around me gets it?

Is this a story about inhumanity and persecution or one of unquestioned entitlement and a smug media peddling this without question? … -1.2672122

What? Intelligent but with a learning disability. Does anybody edit this material? And since when is illiteracy a permanent disability? Ever heard of the National Adult Literacy Agency? This sounds he has a case of Stage 4 Chronic Couldn’t Be Arsed Syndrome with Persecution Complex and Major Sense of Entitlement complications.

You get nearly €2,100 a month plus a further €840 a month in Children’s Allowance for your six children, free accommodation and all the other state handouts.

This is the place they were offered: … 12!6m1!1e1

I have never seen a place so like a Calcutta slum than this place.

You wouldn’t take it for nothing. A man of honour.

Busy? Says who? See … 20plan.pdf:

(AADT = Annual Average Daily Traffic)

Does anyone see the irony here? The foreigner comes over here, sets up a business and contributes to rather than being a burden on the state and he is being forced to have a lazy tinker who could not be arsed working (or at least that is what he says). Who does these Poles this they are coming over here showing up the natives as lazy fuckers? The cheek of it.

How could you afford a 4X4 with the associated insurance, road tax and fuel that can accommodate eight people on just your state handouts? It sound like the excuse George Redmond gave when he was caught with a bag of money where he said he always made his own sandwiches for lunch and was a careful saver?

Has anyone checked this person is not actually working?

You had somewhere to go. You just have a Pick-N-Mix attitude that accompanies your massive sense of entitlement to other peoples’ money.

No you are not homeless. You are without the specific home you feel you are entitled to.

Fuck me.


The Emirates give their Citizens free housing but only about 10% of population supposedly qualify as Citizens.

It appears that Ireland has its own two-track approach to social housing where those who don’t want to be “kept” by the State in the long term qualify for practically nothing and struggle to receive even that while those who choose to rely on social welfare find their sugar Daddy to be very generous.

When I was being indoctrinated by the Priests in school not only was I dubious of the stuff like the holy spirit and transubstantiation but the Parable of the Prodigal Son; to my young brain the Prodigal Son was a mooch and to this day that is still my opinion and all that brainwashing about Charity for the wee black babies in Africa when I was growing up in a very poor parish where most everybody was cycling high nellies or driving around in rotted out old Datsun 120Ys and Corolla K20s held together with bailing twine. My neighbour farmed with a Donkey and Cart and not because it had rustic charm.
The system of control seems to rely on making the broader population believe “There are others who have it worse” to keep them docile.


Is this what passes for serious investigative journalism in the smug, mutual masturbatory focalistic groupthing confirmation bias dominated coven that is the Irish Times?

Woodward and Bernstein they are not. Deep Throat - more like Shallow Gob.


There are lots of things in that article that don’t make much sense, but on the face of it, this one is particularly puzzling.

I assume that they mean that " for every 1,000 people receiving accommodation assistance in Longford, 19.1 of them were Travellers, equating to approximately 5 per cent of the population of the county", but at first and even second reading, I was left thinking “How does 19.1/1000 = 0.05?” :confused:
The whole article seems carelessly written.

Not tonight, dear. I’ve got a headache. :-GC

(and after that piece of “journalism”, my brain certainly hurts.)


JFK had dyslexia (learning disability), but was reasonably intelligent.
There are a million better examples too.

So maybe the “edit” should be on you.


Murtagh is a rare specimen of a fine Irish journalist.

Like most journalists or their editors he cannot handle basic arithmetic.

I was able to read between the lines on this one.


Good post Chicken. Well analysed.
But don’t keep reading stuff like this - its bad for your mental well being.


I sometimes wonder if the IT is deliberately trolling its readers or can they really not see how sloppily researched and devoid of real analysis these kind of stories are? And provocative to your average mortgage slave who’s paying for it all. There’s been a real spate of them in the Times and the Indo lately; very unsympathetic people telling their hugely dodgy stories (remember Kitty Holland and the living in the car woman, whose story was debunked after someone spent five minutes on Google and Facebook?) that don’t bear up to any kind of scrutiny. I don’t know. I think they can’t be that bad, but maybe they can.


JFK Senior? Have you a source for that?

the guy has **never **worked - excusing this is downright insulting for the people with genuine disabilities who do manage to contribute to society. This guy looks like he works out in the gym - see kettlebell t-shirt. Shame he can work those guns doing something productive. Chatting to a farmer recently - getting Irish farm labourers is impossible.


didn’t comment on the story, rather ChickenParmentier’s statement that one could not be both intelligent and have a learning disability… it may be a common misconception, but it is ignorant.


What’s the going rate for farm labourers?

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