Mr O' Súilleabháin said;
"A department of Social Protection error resulted in fuel allowance overpayments of €1.2 million made to about 60,000 Jobseeker claimants last winter. These payments were in no way the fault of the claimants who would have been confused over entitlements due to cuts to the scheme introduced last year. Now the department is recovering this money by deferring this year’s payment to these claimants by one week."
"This move will mean that 60,000 families will miss an entitlement that they believed was coming. It may seem like an insignificant cut to some people, but to many such a cut could have a catastrophic knock on effect."
"There is a crisis in Ireland today and even the smallest alteration in a person's weekly income can have dire consequences. It's now estimated that 10% of the population are living in food poverty. Up to 200,000 Irish children are living below the poverty line and it has been predicted that half the population will be living in fuel poverty in the next five years unless preventative measures are taken now."
"It is a dangerous time to punish people at the very brink of survival for a mistake that was made by the Department. This will be a real cause of worry for many families across this state. I would ask that the recuperation of the departments losses be deferred to a later date when families are in a better position to handle the effects."