Pat the Cope Gallagher
"Together, and supporting one another we can do better for Donegal"
Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher Leas Cheann Comhairle has challenged the Government to show some understanding and finally deal with the chronic problems facing part time and seasonal workers accessing their social welfare entitlements. It is now self-evident that the Government are clueless and just do not understand the problems and issues facing seasonal and part time workers on a daily basis in terms of their entitlements to social protection payments when their respective employment ceases. Last year the former Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar gave a cast iron guarantee that this matter would be reviewed but it now transpires the report has only now been completed, despite a commitment that it would be presented to the Social welfare committee by March of this year.
Pat the Cope stated the Government have shown complete incompetence in their handling of the problem, even in my debate in the Dáil this week with the Minister for Employment and Social Protection Regina Doherty – it is clear that there is a complete failure to understand the extent of the problem and furthermore an absolute unwillingness to make any attempt to deal with the issues in a time effective manner. Earlier in the year, a delegation of seasonal and part time workers attended the Dáil and met with the Minister on this subject matter and I have on numerous occasions raised the matter directly with the Ministers in the Dáil. It is a sad indictment of a Government when the Minister in the Dáil during my debate with her stated “this affects only a small number of Donegal workers only and is unique to there “ – shocking approach that perhaps best expresses the clueless approach of this Government to rural life and living.
Pat the Cope speaking in the Dáil called on the Minister to stop the procrastination and end the discrimination for this sector of workers, many of whom have worked on a part time or seasonal basis for over twenty years. Over one year has expired since this issue was to be dealt with by way of a Departmental Report and it’s more than two years since I first highlighted the problems facing seasonal and part time workers. The Government need to wake up and deal with the problems that face this section of workers when they seek to access their entitlements after work ceases. This Government needs to pay attention to the plight of rural Ireland and the circumstances of employment of those who work on a part time or seasonal basis – action and solutions are urgently needed and the Government must step up to that challenge concluded Pat the Cope.
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Pat the Cope was born in Burtonport and has lived in Dungloe, Co.Donegal all his life where he attended Roshine and Luinneach National School and thereafter Dungloe High School and Coláiste Éinde Gaillimh.
He obtained his Commerce degree from NUI Galway in 1970. From 1970 to 1981, he was involved in the fish processing sector. Pat the Cope has been married to Ann Gillespie for twenty five years. He has been a board member of the Rosses Community School Board of Management, Killybegs Tourism and Training College and the Donegal Vocational Education Committee to name but a few.
An enthusiastic GAA and Celtic FC supporter, he follows both as much as he can.
Small businesses are the engine of the Irish economy. SME’s in Donegal require more support from government with access to credit a major concern.
Rural Ireland is struggling to survive. Rural towns are in decline. Vital public services from post offices and Garda stations face closure. I will fight to reverse this unacceptable failure by this government.
We need a properly funded health service in Donegal that will cater for young and old, including mental health patients. The inability of this government to address the crisis in the health service is totally unacceptable.
Education has always been a key priority of mine. I will continue to seek to deliver the maximum amount of financial support allocated to schools in Donegal and our third level colleges.
The fishing sector is the lifeblood of so many coastal towns and villages throughout Donegal. The small islands off the coast of Donegal also depends so much on fishing. This vital industry supports jobs in areas where few alternatives exist. I will continue to be a strong voice for this important industry, and strive to represent their views to the best of my ability.
Public infrastructure in Donegal needs significant investment, including the provision of broadband, roads, water, sewerage and flood defences. I will campaign vigorously to ensure that Donegal receives the necessary funding from the national exchequer.
I will provide, as I have done over the last 35 years, a constituency office that will deal with any matter regardless of how big or small the issue may be.