“By standing firm against the London-Dublin Tory axis, Sinn Féin achieved a welfare system better than the one in Britain…”

According to Sinn Féin national chairperson Declan Kearney, [Don’t mention the Dark Side! – Ed]

…Sinn Féin from 2011 onwards opposed the proposed welfare cuts and insisted welfare protection was absolutely fundamental for all citizens.

“That is why Sinn Féin politically campaigned against welfare cuts alongside trade unions and grassroots communities.

“This principle guided our strategy during the Stormont House negotiations and why, in December last, when the other four Executive parties agreed to a deal on welfare, Sinn Féin refused to do so and kept negotiating.

“By standing firm against the London-Dublin Tory axis, Sinn Féin achieved a welfare system better than the one in Britain, by an average of £94m per year.

Except that, as noted here, Sam McBride pointed out in the News Letter

…although the Stormont House Agreement secured some more money for Stormont, it did not extract from the Government a single additional penny for welfare reform.

And most of the money which it moves across the Irish Sea is borrowed, with the largest loan of £700 million to be used to pay off public sector workers.

Rather than ‘stopping Tory cuts’, it is now increasingly apparent that what Sinn Fein actually secured in December was the agreement of the DUP to use some more of Stormont’s existing budget to top up the benefits of those who will lose money under the reforms.

In coming years, with an already shrinking Stormont budget, increased debt payments from increased borrowings and what are sure to be continued pressures on the NHS, the benefit top-up payments will be fighting with funding for hospitals, schools or the police.

Effectively, everything which Sinn Fein has secured for welfare claimants will come from other Stormont services.

The yet-to-be-defined mitigating schemes that Declan Kearney is pointing at are not a concession from central [UK] government.  They are to be funded by money diverted from the Block Grant by the Northern Ireland Executive.  As such they could have been put in place at any point during the last 2 years of ‘paralysis’. [Adds At a time when Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness was claiming that, “We are not in conflict with Peter Robinson and the DUP on the issue of welfare.  We are in conflict with the British government…”]

In fact, Scotland has been doing something similar since April 2013.  As this written answer to the Scottish Parliament on 20 January this year demonstrates [541kb pdf file]

Kevin Stewart (Aberdeen Central) (Scottish National Party): To ask the Scottish Government how much it has spent on welfare reform mitigation since April 2013 and how much it plans to spend in 2015-16, broken down by type of mitigation.


Margaret Burgess: From April 2013 to 2015-16, the Scottish Government’s current and planned funding will result in an investment of £296 million to mitigate the effects of the UK Government’s welfare reforms.

Details are as follows:

Welfare Reform Mitigation activity2013-14(£million)2014-15(£million)2015-16(£million)Total from2013 to 2016(£million)
Scottish Welfare Fund(£33 million plus admin)£38£38£38£114
Other Welfare Reform Mitigation*£7£8.2£8.2£23.4
Council Tax Reduction Scheme£23£23£23£69
‘Bedroom tax’ – Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP)£20£35£35£90


*Welfare reform mitigation includes funding for organisations that provide advice and support services to help people affected by welfare reform. This includes funding for Citizens Advice Scotland and continued support for the Making Advice Work grant funding programme and the new Tackling Money Worries grant funding programme administered by the Scottish Legal Aid Board. The funding also supports actions to tackle poverty, particularly child poverty including activity designed to maximise household resources for vulnerable groups, and initiatives with the third sector, local authorities and others impacted by welfare reform.

[ Isn’t £104.2million greater than £94million? – Ed]  Indeed.

And, as Sam McBride mentioned, there are consequences…

Tony Carlin, [Irish National Teaching Organisation], said the [NI Education] department had not made provision for real term increases.

“The increased monies were only in respect of cash terms, schools were not protected from inflation, external financial pressures, pay rises etc,” he said.

“The result will be that schools will probably face around 3.5% to 4% cuts this year.

“There will be about 500 teaching posts lost and also support staff’s jobs will be lost as well.

“The schools believed that they had money but unfortunately the devil is in the detail in this one. We are disappointed because ultimately children’s education will suffer.”

Mr Carlin said there would also the the impact of another £83m in savings.

“This could mean cuts perhaps to school meals, transport, special needs, crossing patrols. This is going to impact on schools indirectly and on the education of pupils.”

, , , , , , , , , , ,

  • hugh mccloy

    The block grant has to absorb every; £300 million a year in water charges (not counting the £1 billion ni water owes Stormont on top of this), the discretionary housing benefit in private sector which is an unknown amount. Will have to find £565 million for welfare changes, if given £300 million for corp tax and pay back the £2 billion loan while mitigating the effect of 20,000 job losses.

    In anyone’s books that is not a good position to be in, I listened to Kearny at one of these leadership road shows SF had, it was all blame the Brits and take no responsibility for domestic problems the parties created.

  • George Jenkins

    Lies, damned lies and statistics.

  • Glenn Clare

    Oh what a tangled web we (they) weave, When first we (they) practise to deceive!

    This will have no bearing on their electorate, the cult will spin more and more lies all willingly engorged on by their sycophant voters.

    Nolan, is making much of Conor Murphy’s “cast iron guarantee”. That no one will lose out in welfare reform, with the deal the sinners/provos negotiated with London. Now Kearney is wading in, taking this right to the top of the sinners/provos priceless.

    I wonder what (and when), will be their distraction to ensure the sinner/provo electorate’s mind is taken off their NON “cast iron guarantee” on welfare reform. We will just have to wait and see. Here’s looking at you Declan.

  • Redstar2014

    Is anyone really surprised. As soon as there was a sniff of the gravy train assembly going down, the Shinners folded faster than Superman on laundry day.

    Their hypocrisy is nauseating. These are the same crowd who used to accuse others of being career politicians!!!!!

    Now that they are the establishment its all sooooo different. Animal Farm

  • chrisjones2

    Who elected Kearney?

  • chrisjones2

    Once you start lying you just have to keep going

    Its like ‘there are no water charges in de Nurth’

  • aor26

    Slugger contributers’ priority is scrutinising Sinn Fein. As far as I can see the D.U.P get off relatively lightly when it comes to the slugger treatment. Okay there is the occasional critique of the D.U.P’s homophobic obsessions but by and large Sinn Fein is their main enemy.
    I find it surprising too because the D.U.P are mentalists

  • Somewhat missing the point, Morpheus. Not for the first time…

    Here’s the full paragraph again.

    The yet-to-be-defined mitigating schemes that Declan Kearney is pointing at are not a concession from central [UK] government. They are to be funded by money diverted from the Block Grant by the Northern Ireland Executive. As such they could have been put in place at any point during the last 2 years of ‘paralysis’.

    All at a time when Martin McGuinness was claiming that “We are not in conflict with Peter Robinson and the DUP on the issue of welfare. We are in conflict with the British government…”

    Of course the simple answer to your question is that the mitigating schemes were not put in place because Sinn Féin were refusing to implement the very same welfare changes that they have just agreed to.

    Indeed, by the DUP’s account of it, a deal on welfare reform had been agreed within OFMDFM, but that Martin McGuinness had failed to sell it to the rest of his party.
    Those mitigating schemes may well have been part of that deal that never was…

  • Glenn Clare

    Oh dear it seems not all is well in republican land, but they need not worry their sycophant voters will fall in, in good auld republican style. When your on the gravy train it’s hard to get off, next stop Westminster.

    “Last month the IRSP challenged Sinn Féin, the party who claim to oppose austerity, to reveal whether or not – under the Stormont House Deal – they had agreed to the destruction of Disability Living Allowance, the subsequent degradation of Carers Allowance, the introduction of a benefits cap, and the ending of Severe Disability Premiums via the deliberately deceptive ‘Universal Credit’ system, all of the core attacks which made up the savage Tory Welfare Reform Bill.

    All of the above were vital elements in ensuring that the most vulnerable individuals and families in our society, including those disproportionately marginalised due to years of political conflict, kept their heads above water and could live with a modicum of dignity.

    Since our request, Sinn Féin have not only refused to clarify what measures they had agreed to, they chose instead to cynically drip fed misinformation to the public, through an array of non-informative press-releases, empty sloganeering and vaguely worded media interviews, designed to lure working class communities into a false sense of security and stall grass roots and Trade Union attempts to build effective street based opposition.

    In truth they had agreed to all of the above, and more. Not only have they capitulated to the bulk of Tory Demands, they have also accepted Ian Duncan Smiths appallingly conceived ‘Bedroom tax’, a complete and total U-Turn on Martin McGuiness’ 2013 promise to ‘resist this onslaught on the most vulnerable’”.


  • hugh mccloy

    They all rolled over a long time ago, and yes mitigation to people in poverty could of happened any thime

  • Glenn Clare

    The same cult members who keep voting for the cult leader.

  • Glenn Clare

    Has anyone spoken to Conor Murphy on his no losers in welfare reform “cast iron guarantee”????

  • I’ve added the following into the original post.

    [Adds At a time when Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness was claiming that, “We are not in conflict with Peter Robinson and the DUP on the issue of welfare. We are in conflict with the British government…”]

  • I provided you with an answer.
    You might not like it. But that’s hardly the point.

  • Glenn Clare

    Morpheus, that will not stand up to scrutiny, Murphy said no one would lose out to welfare reform. it was a “cast iron guarantee”. Nothing to do with tax credits. He and they where referring to Job seekers, DLA and the bed room tax etc. No one ever mentioned tax credits. Stormont will not have the remotest idea who is getting what amount of tax credit, and how could they administer a compensation scheme, it would cost millions to set up.
    If the republican voter swallows that one then they are more sycophant than I or any other Unionist ever imagined.

  • Dan

    The country is being fleeced by Sinn Fein’s core vote, and the DUP are so determined to keep their jobs at Stormont, that they are willing to see the coffers raided at everyone else’s expense.

  • chrisjones2

    Yeah …you were man playing and he responded with argument

  • chrisjones2

    Whose lives have been ‘turned upside down’. Calm down dear. You have been listing to Mr Miliband on the steam wireless again.

  • chrisjones2

    Nice to see a man of principles here

  • chrisjones2

    But why doesn’t he stand for election?

  • chrisjones2

    YEs…just like blaming it all on the DUPs!!

  • chrisjones2

    ….and press statements

  • Jim £53

    The DUP have never pretended to be anything other than what they are. A right-wing fundamentalist party that will always side with the Tories. However, Sinn Féin claimed, and they still claim to be a leftist anti-austerity party. Sinn Féin have been no better than any corporate company contracted by the Tories to do their dirty work. Sinn Féin are the Atos bully boys of the elite. They have been assisting the Tory cuts from 2010 when they agreed to cut £500million. They have also assisted Labour’s cuts, and supported their spending reviews from 1998. Sinn Féin have been merciless with both their education brief and with public water. They have closed more schools in North Ireland since partition, than any other party, especially schools within rural communities. Conor Murphy paved the way for water meters, and £10 million has been paid to implement that. This infrastructure continues. Stormont operate on an enormous budget of £900million per month. The North was not being fined for non-implementation of the London cuts, it was simply paying a small fraction towards the welfare bill. A fraction that was used and abused by all Stormont parties to sell this deal to the public. Sinn Féin sat on their hands in the Assembly as amendments were proposed to (at the very least) lessen such dangerous legislation. The best they could do was to accuse the SDLP of being dissidents. Sinn Féin; the first party to call for lower corporation tax sold out the most vulnerable to help the rich. To help the mega-corporates. Themselves. And this was a one time deal, the welfare state is gone, and we can’t ask for it back again. Maybe that doesn’t affect you personally, but the human cost will be huge, and the years ahead are bleak for tens of thousands.

  • Dan

    You wouldn’t know honesty if it slapped you in the face,

  • Practically_Family

    Or what we in the trade call a fudge.
    Both SF and Britgov get to claim they got their way. And both are simultaneously correct and incorrect.

  • Old Mortality

    ‘…result in an investment of £296 million to mitigate the effects of the UK Government’s welfare reforms.’

    Well, let’s hope that at least our ministers don’t consider benefit payments to be investment. The Scots have had a lucky escape if that’s what the SNP thinks.

  • chrisjones2


  • chrisjones2

    Then stop it!!

  • chrisjones2

    “investment” – the New Labour definition was ‘money poured into pit to buy votes’

  • banana man

    he is this May…South Antrim

  • Joe_Hoggs


  • aor26

    yes as in they are mental – crazy. They put a guy in charge of the Health department who proudly claimed to be a creationist. mental.

  • chrisjones2

    I look forward to the result …but its a no hoper

  • the keep

    The real problem is that our so called elected representatives take ages to make difficult decisions and almost immediately try to backtrack so you dont just end up with bad government you end up with no government