Dublin barber challenges Covid payment cut after getting stranded abroad 

Man went on short holiday to native country just before lock down 
 
A barber who went on holiday to his native country just before the lock down and could not get back here until this month has brought a High Court challenge to the cutting off of his Covid-19 jobless following a review. 
Nicolai Ciaica, a citizen of Romania and Moldova, has worked in Ireland since 2013 and lives on Main Street, Clongriffin, Dublin. 
 
Just before the lock down, he says he went on a short holiday to Moldova where he had to remain until July due to the pandemic restrictions. He had applied and received the Covid-19 unemployment payment but on June 10th last it was withdrawn following a review by a social welfare inspector. 
 
He says this was unlawful and he is seeking court orders that it be restored pending full determination of the matter by a deciding officer in the department. 
 
He also seeks declarations that the payment is non-statutory and provides for payment where a person has lost their job due to the pandemic, has been temporarily laid off, worked in the Republic or was a cross-border frontier worker, and lived here. 
 
The basis on which the social welfare officer cut off his payment related to provisions of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 whereas pandemic payments are wholly different and apply where job loss/lay off and a number of other conditions are met, it is claimed. 
 
Mr Ciaica claims he must be deemed to be currently living here in circumstances where he had worked here and only left the State for a holiday but could not return due to the restrictions. He could not have been deemed to be living in Moldova when he solely went there for a holiday, he says. He seeks a number of declarations including that unemployment benefits are exportable under the pandemic payment scheme. He says the decision to cease the payment was made in the absence of jurisdiction by the department. 
 
On Monday, Mr Justice Garrett Simons granted his barrister Derek Shortall leave to bring judicial review proceedings over the matter against the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection. The application was made on a one-side only represented (ex-parte) basis. The matter will return before the court in September. 
 
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