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Minister Burton’s Social Welfare Bill is anti children – Ó Caoláin

8 December, 2011

Speaking on the Social Welfare Bill Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD described the Bill and the budget as “anti children”.

He said the social welfare cuts would penalise children of low income families.

Criticising Social Protection Minister Joan Burton he said:

“Exactly a year ago on 7 December 2010 the then Labour Party finance spokesperson Joan Burton TD said in her Dáil speech on Budget 2011: ‘There is pain for the poor, money for the rich, particularly for the bankers, and the rolling back of the State...There is no modern example of a developed economy deflating to this extraordinary degree but claiming it can grow...’

“As Social Protection Minister, Deputy Burton has now signed off on a budget that continues the futile austerity programme that she lacerated last year. Minister Burton’s Social Welfare Bill makes the vulnerable and the poor pay the price yet again for the austerity programme. It takes a massive €811 million out of the Social Protection budget.

“Last year Deputy Burton pointed out that under Budget 2011 a family with three children lost €40 a month, which is in addition to the previous cuts in child benefit in 2010, where they lost a significant amount. Now under Minister Burton’s Social Welfare Bill a family with four children will be down €432 in 2012 rising to €768 by 2013. This is the measure of Minister Burton and the Labour Party’s achievement in Cabinet regarding child benefit.

“Repeatedly over the years Deputy Burton, her party colleagues and I sat in this chamber and listened to a succession of Fianna Fáil/PD/Green Ministers point out what they called the generous universal child benefit payment in this State and use that payment as an excuse for not providing better childcare, better early education and better healthcare for children.

“Now we see Minister Burton proceeding with the cuts to that universal safety net - child benefit. Forgive us if we don’t thank her for wielding a knife instead of an axe.”

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