Welfare and solidarity payments should not be abused. We are all in agreement on that point. If there is any malpractice or fraud, it must be addressed. The circumstances we now face do not relate to corruption or malpractice but to a decision taken by the Government to openly and blatantly discriminate against workers who are on a Covid payment. Having issued inconsistent and confused travel advice, the Government now says that workers on a Covid payment cannot take a holiday that they may have paid for 12 months ago and that may be to one of the Government's green-list countries, without fear of losing their income. The Government's confused travel advice also means those people are not guaranteed a refund if they cancel that holiday. Its approach is discriminatory. The billionaire classes and tax exiles have been accommodated and there is not a chance of a penalty for them; they have been facilitated. The Government's utter hypocrisy and unfairness is galling. It is my strong view that nobody should take international trips. I also believe the travel advice should clearly and unambiguously set that out, but that is not the case. If the Government is determined to penalise people for travelling abroad, it must have universal penalties, not ones targeted at one section of the population, because the unfairness of that speaks for itself. The Government's lack of understanding and empathy for people who have been through the mill and lost their jobs is remarkable. The Taoiseach said that we are all in this together, but it is clear now that we are not.
Tomorrow, the Government will bring forward further legislation, this time on vulture funds. A vulture fund lost a court case in April and now the Government is introducing legislation to address the concerns and needs of such funds. It is hugely worrying that this measure is being sneaked through in Covid emergency legislation without any pre-legislative scrutiny, but that is this Government all over. It certainly makes it clear in whose interests it acts.
I asked the Taoiseach yesterday to state the legal basis for Government actions such as inspections at our airports and the sourcing of information from people travelling abroad. It seems to me that the Government acted outside the law. Yesterday, the Taoiseach said he favours a review of cases where people have had their money stopped. Who will carry out that review? When will it take place and will people get their money back?