Cllr. Regina Doherty is calling on the government to set up a Welfare Fraud Bureau to tackle the outrageous problem of deception and fraud that prevails within our Social Welfare system. With 100’s of our highly experienced Gardai currently retiring early we should be setting up Special Units with special powers to harness their experience to solve this major issue once and for all.
The Prime Time investigates programme highlighted just how under resourced the Dept. of Social Welfare is; quite simply they are not equipped to handle an issue of this size. I have spoken with department employees and they feel intimidated and threatened when they are asked to carry out investigations. This is not the way to handle a €3billion fraud problem.
A bureau similar to that of CAB, staffed by Gardai and Social Welfare employees, should be based in local units and given special powers of surveillance, They would have access to local knowledge through their existing relationships with local Gardai and could act like pit bull terriers to root our the culprits of this major problem and bring them to justice with such a speed that it would dispel that image that “easy money” can be made from the Irish Welfare System.
It goes with out saying that in the current economic climate that of the government is truly serious about how they spend our taxes then this should be given serious and an immediate priority.