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DSD EXCUSES FOR FAILURE NOT ACCEPTABLE – NÍ CHUILÍN

8 September, 2008


DSD EXCUSES FOR FAILURE NOT ACCEPTABLE - NÍ CHUILÍN

Sinn Féin's DSD spokesperson Carál Ni Chulin has slammed the failure of the DSD to collect and deliver child maintenance amounting to over £80m. Ms Ni Chuilín has stated that the Social Development Minister has failed and is continuing to fail thousands of vulnerable children.

Speaking today Ms Ní Chuilin said:

"Today's revelation that over £80m is owed to children through child maintenance highlights years of systematic failure to provide for vulnerable families in the delivery of child maintenance.

"Some people had hoped with the passing of the Child Maintenance Bill which, while imperfect, had certain clauses that could deliver for vulnerable families and their children. The revelation now that 12,000 children out of 57,000 are not receiving maintenance and that over £40m of the above debt will be written off has shown that the gross failures of the past are being passed into the new system.

"Margaret Ritchie has held the position of Minister for DSD since May 2007 and cannot wash her hands of past errors or the errors of her office since taking the post. Indeed changing the name of the agency charged with the responsibility of collecting child maintenance from the Child Support Agency to the Child Maintenance Enforcement Division is proving to be only a cosmetic exercise. Whatever the name, countless families are still loosing out.

"What this amounts to is thousands of families loosing out financially and being let down over years of neglect, something which Margaret Ritchie has not been able to stop or even address." CRÍOCH

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