Posted by Old Boy
Man goes on hunger strike over social welfare claim
A Killarney councillor has slammed the government over what he described as the “appalling treatment” of a local family who are seeking social welfare assistance. Cllr Donal Grady warned this week that Jan De Neubourg, who has begun a hunger strike to draw attention to his situation, could be dead within two weeks unless something is done.
Me De Neubourg (56) and his wife Claire, who live in Barraduff, have been waiting four months to see if the state will provide financial support to them.
The Belgian nationals, who have been living in the Killarney area for fifteen years, have been in serious financial circumstances since Jan’s pension from Belgium was stopped.
He says he has written to “everyone” on the issue of whether he is entitled to financial assistance in Ireland.
He has vowed to continue his hunger strike until he gets a response from the Department of Social Protection over whether he is entitled to any help from the state. He said has not eaten or drank anything since last Sunday.
The Belgian Embassy in Dublin confirmed this week that they are aware of the situation regarding Mr De Neubourg.
Killarney Town Councillor Cllr Donal Grady said that Jan is being treated appallingly by the state.
“He is an EU citizen, and they have been giving him the run-around since May. Minister Joan Burton has treated him terribly,” Cllr Grady said.
“He has done nothing wrong. They should have given him an answer by now.
“Since this government came into power I have been fighting for people every week for people to get entitlements. This was not the case previously.”
This week the Belgian native said that he will continue not to eat or drink until the government give him an answer.
“All we want is a decision on whether we can get financial assistance,” he said.
“We have written to everyone, including Minister Joan Burton, local politicians and various agencies but nothing.
“It has been four months and we don’t know what is going on.
“We have been promised every day that we will get an answer, but we don’t.
“The Department is playing games, the way they are treating people is not human.”
Mr De Neubourg, who suffers from depression and other health problems, is currently appealing against the cessation of his Belgian pension.
In the meantime the family’s only income is a small pension his wife receives.
“There is a little money coming in and friends have been very good to us, but we want the state to do what they supposed to do,” he said.
“Overnight they can decide to give billions to the bank, but they can’t make a decision on whether we are entitled to anything.”