‘There are significant concerns’: Plans to change disability welfare benefits scrapped

The controversial green paper contained proposals to introduce three different levels of disability benefits

The Government is expected to scrap the controversial green paper on disability reform, which proposes changes to social welfare benefits for people with disabilities.

New Taoiseach Simon Harris said on his first day in office that he would establish a Cabinet committee on children and disabilities and has repeatedly said that the concerns of people with disabilities will be an important priority for him.

The decision to scrap the green paper, which was published as a discussion document last year and contained proposals to introduce three different levels of disability benefits, will please disability groups which have campaigned against it since it was published.

Last month, disability activists held a protest against the proposals in Dublin.


A spokesman for Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys confirmed that the green paper proposals would not be proceeding. It is understood that Ms Humphreys has been keen to “park” the issue for some time and the move was agreed with Taoiseach Simon Harris in recent days.

Ms Humphreys said that based on feedback received to date, it was clear that “there are significant concerns about the proposals”.

“I have listened to these concerns and I am confirming today that the Green Paper proposals will not be implemented,” she said.

“Our new Taoiseach, Simon Harris, has placed a major focus on improving supports for people with disabilities by giving a voice to special education at the Cabinet table in Minister Naughten and also with the establishment of a new special Cabinet Committee on Disability.

“As a Government, we now need to have a fresh look at how we can best support people with disabilities and I believe this will be best done on a whole-of-Government basis through the new Cabinet Committee.”

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times