Brendan Griffin TD
Friday, June 21st 2013
Fine Gael Kerry TD, Brendan Griffin, has welcomed a provision contained in the Social Welfare Bill which will give greater certainty to part-time fire-fighters by removing restrictions on their access to jobseekers benefit and jobseekers allowance.
“Since the early 1970s, the social welfare system has essentially subsidised the cost of providing a part-time fire service, by allowing the fire-fighters involved to claim the dole. But this hasn’t been underpinned by legislation up until now, meaning some individual fire-fighters could face difficulties in accessing payments.
“This is due to what is known as the ‘proximity clause’, which required part-time fire-fighters to live near their station. Unfortunately this clause meant they could be refused jobseekers allowance if they turned down a job because it would take them too far away from their station.
“The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD, has recognised the challenges this can pose, and as a result a provision has been included in the Social Welfare Bill 2013 to recognise the good work of fire-fighters by ensuring they can access dole payments.
“Part-time fire-fighters provide an extremely valuable service in communities across the country, and it is only right that their role is recognised and supported. I am glad that the Government is taking a pragmatic view of this situation, and I hope this small change can make it easier for part-time fire-fighters to continue to provide their local areas with an extremely important service.”