The eligibility of PUP recipients has been the focus of a multi-agency checkpoint in County Kilkenny today.
Across the morning, the local Garda Roads Policing Unit has been assisting officers from the Department of Social Protection.
While the campaign has run in other parts of the country, including recently in Carlow, it’s a first for Kilkenny.
Divisional Garda Inspector Paul Donohoe says that it could be some time before it’s discovered if anybody locally is benefitting when they shouldn’t, telling KCLR News “It’s very hard to tell, they seem to take a lot of details and then they have to go back to their own offices and departments and then they do their further enquiries so it’s not like us, you know, gardaí when we get a detection we know we’ve got a detection there and then, the Department of Social Protection they have to go back to their offices and do their own bit of paperwork and computer work then check first”.
As to whether’s there’s a major issue across the country, Inspector Donohoe says “I think they suspect that there is, I think there have been checkpoints done in other Divisions and that they have come across quite a few people working and making claims fraudulently so it’s kind-of a nationwide operation going on to see if they can cut it out”.
It appears that locally there hasn’t been much of a problem to date with Inspector Donohoe noting “We haven’t had much, this is the first one we’ll say that they’ve done with us in Kilkenny, they did one in Carlow a few weeks ago but I don’t think there was a massive amount of detections, they stop drivers working and take all their details, I think they’ve a substantial amount of work to do when they go back to their office”.
And he reiterates that the operation is led by the Department of Social Protection personnel, saying “It’s not really our department, An Garda Siochana merely play a role in assisting the agencies at the checkpoints, it’s really not something that we specialise in or know much about, I would say advice to listeners I’d say that they go onto state websites and check it out but I think and it’s my opinion if you’re getting a benefit from the government for being unemployed well then you shouldn’t be working”.