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Child Benefit cut would be against Programme for Government – Ó Caoláin

30 November, 2011

Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said any cut in Child Benefit in the Budget would be against the commitments in the Programmme for Government and in breach of the Labour Party's pre-election pledges.

He called on Labour and Fine Gael TDs to support the Sinn Féin private members' motion to protect Child Benefit in tonight's Dáil vote. He said:

“'Protect Child Benefit – Vote Labour' declared the Labour Party posters before the General Election.

“'We will maintain social welfare rates' declares the Fine Gael/Labour Programme for Government.

“All that the Sinn Féin motion seeks to do is to require the Government to fulfil its own Programme adopted only nine months ago.

“It does not propose increases in social welfare rates, although many such would be justified.

“It simply asks the members of Fine Gael and Labour to walk through the lobbies tonight and fulfil their commitments to protect the most vulnerable in our society.

“Today we saw the release of figures showing a rise in the Live Register of Jobseekers Benefit and Allowance claimants to 448,600. We have nearly 450,000 people unemployed, many of them with young children, many of them newly jobless and with mortgages to pay, and yet this Government is actually contemplating cutting Child Benefit.

“Many also are experiencing long-term unemployment and generational unemployment, putting them and their children on the margins. For these people a cut to Child Benefit is almost unthinkable.”

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