Sinn Féin spokesperson on Environment, Community & Local Government Brian Stanley TD, has today called on the government to match the sentiment in the proposed Children’s Referendum with the political will and resources to make it a reality for the state’s children.
Speaking in the Dáil on the 31st Amendment of the Constitution 2012, Deputy Stanley said;
“This Bill is a step towards cherishing all the children of the nation equally. If the referendum is passed we must realise that it is meaningless unless it is matched with the resources and political will to make it a reality.
“You could wall paper the corridors of the Dáil with the fine words of this bill and with the government literature that will be printed supporting the referendum. But unless the words are linked to action they are, literally, not worth the paper they are written.
“Child poverty under this government is increasing at a higher level than in Greece. This government has continued to cut funding to services which provides support and help to families and children. Child poverty had been falling until 2009 and now it has unfortunately started to rise again and this government has done nothing to reverse that trend.
“The voluntary and community sector provides the services that the state and private sectors cannot or simply will not provide. Whole sections of the population are dependent on these services which this government has attempted to shut down.
“Government funding to family support projects has been cut by 17%, voluntary housing cut by 54%, drug projects cut by 29% and sports grants cut by 52%. In my own constituency of Laois/Offaly vulnerable young people have suffered at the hands of this government. Respite services for young people with mental disabilities in Laois have seen their services cuts and in some cases totally shut down.”