THE decision to cut off the dole payment of the Buncrana man who walked from Malin to Dublin to protest against government austerity measures was described this week as ‘subtle intimidation’.
Deputy Padraig MacLochlainn said he was shocked to learn this week that Joe Murphy’s dole payment was stopped as he embarked on his 21-day protest march to Dublin as part of Donegal Action Against Austerity.
Joe Murphy, who appeared with four other marchers on RTE’s Late Late Show last Friday night, had his weekly social welfare benefits stopped ten days ago. Department officials deemed that he was ‘not actively seeking work’ while on the walk to the capital and stopped his payments.
However after payments were suspended for more than a week, leaving his wife and family at home in Buncrana with little or no money to live on, payments were eventually reinstated this week. The cut-off caused the protest walker to lose €150 as a result of his actions.
Joe explained that he had been driving back to Buncrana every week to collect his money, but two-thirds of the way into his 21-day walk to the capital his benefits were axed.
“They told me that I was unavailable for work and cut me off,” Joe said. His wife called him on the Monday morning to tell him what had happened.
“I couldn’t believe it, I was very annoyed. She told me I had to carry on with the walk though and her brothers sorted her out with some money in the meantime.”
The Buncrana man who walked the 244 miles to make his protest vowed he wouldn’t be deterred in his continuing his fight against government austerity measures.
“I suppose you have to expect these type of things when you put yourself out there but I’ll just brush it off and get on with it. I’ll fight on regardless,” he said.