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Contradictory Restrictions a Bigger Threat to PUP Payments than Black Economy.

NB Please see PQ below.


On foot of a PQ Response, Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has accentuated the cost of government policies in terms of jobs as over €7.5 billion has been expended in PUP payments since the start of the pandemic.


An Teachta Tóibín:


“Unemployment stands at circa 25%, whilst youth unemployment in certain sectors stands as high as 60%. Thousands of SMEs have closed their doors since the start of the pandemic. Many existing businesses are in a zombie state, likely to fall over when the funding supports dry up. At the time of writing, there are still over 370,000 in receipt of the PUP. Since the establishment of the PUP, the cost has been over €7.5 billion, ‘of which €5 billion was in 2020 and €2.5 billion in 2021.’ According to the PQ response, ‘Since its introduction, over 23 million payments have been made, with 14.7 million payments made in 2020 and 8.4 million payments in the first four months of 2021.’ This is the result of restrictions that have lasted far longer and are far more severe than any other country in the EU.  This is crippling whole swathes of the economy.”


“On Wednesday the government will allow indoor drinking and dining in hotels but prevent it in pubs and restaurants. This will see thousands of young people congregate outside in city streets and towns in a far less regulated manner than 6 people at a table. It will mean that workers will be forced to remain on PUP and it will turn streetscapes in rubbish tips. It will also lead to a significant increase in the squinting windows of the chattering classes. All this is happening at a time when there are less that 100 people in hospital with Covid”.


“The political class have started to fret about the existence of the black economy. Whatever black economy that does exists, exists because of these restrictions and is minuscule compared to the real reason a ½ a billion is being drawn down in PUP every month; the longest lockdown in the EU. This is adding up to a €40 billion debt which will steal from future investment in housing, health, education and infrastructure for well over a decade. Ireland has been hit by a hurricane but it’s only when the storm recedes that we will understand the true cost of the devastation left behind”.    


“Now we have a situation where  the spectre of Troika-style spending cuts and tax increases are being raised whilst the Minister refuses to rule out the return of austerity measures. Our public services have already been devastated by cutbacks and underfunding but are under threat once again”. CRIOCH




For Oral Answer on : 18/05/2021

Question Number(s): 72 Question Reference(s): 26146/21

Department: Social Protection

Asked by: Peadar Tóibín T.D.






To ask the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons in receipt of the pandemic unemployment payment; and the monthly breakdown on spending on the payment since the start of the pandemic.



The Pandemic Unemployment Payment was introduced on the 13th March 2020 in response to the Covid-19 crisis.


Since its introduction, over 23 million payments have been made, with 14.7 million payments made in 2020 and 8.4 million payments in the first four months of 2021.


Last week, my Department issued payments to over 376,000 people on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.  This represents a decrease of 8,500 on the previous week.

The first payments on PUP were made in March 2020 when there was over 58,700 payments in week one.  The numbers of payments peaked at over 600,000 in early May 2020.  Following the gradual re-opening of the economy over last summer, numbers dropped to a low of over 200,000 by early October 2020.


Level 3 restrictions were imposed in Dublin, Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan from late September 2020 which saw recipient numbers gradually increase.  This was followed by a move to level 5 restrictions from late October 2020 and recipient numbers increased again  to peak of over 350,00 by late November 2020.  Easing of restrictions in early December 2020 saw recipients numbers fall to just over 280,000 by 25th December 2020.


Level 5 (including construction) restrictions were again re-imposed from late December 2020 with recipients peaking at almost 481,000 by week-ending 5th February 2021.  Since then, the number of recipients have fallen gradually each week and have reflected the gradual reopening of the economy during April and early May 2021, to stand at over 376,000 by 14th May 2021.


Expenditure on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment since its introduction is over €7.5 billion, of which €5 billion was in 2020 and €2.5 billion in 2021.


The expenditure for each month since the introduction of PUP is as follows:


March 2020               €111.0 million

April 2020                 €778.8 million

May 2020                  €824.5 million

June 2020                  €859.1 million

July 2020                   €420.4 million

August 2020              €310.5 million

September 2020         €326.6 million

October 2020             €267.6 million

November 2020         €403.1 million

December 2020          €676.8 million

January 2021              €510.8 million

February 2021            €588.5 million

March 2021                €686.3 million

April 2021                  €550.9 million

By Aontú Press | 1 June, 2021

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