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Absence of affordable childcare harms children and young families- McLellan

11 February, 2015

Speaking on Fianna Fail’s private members bill relating to childcare this evening, Sinn Féin Deputy Sandra McLellan criticised the Governments track record with regard to child supports.

Deputy McLellan said:

“This government has relentlessly targeted children, despite all their fine words regarding our youngest citizens’ rights’. Budget 2015 may have increased the monthly child benefit payment by 5 euro, but only after Fine Gael and Labour cut it by €47 for the fourth child and €10 for other children.”

“The lone parent income disregard was cut from €146 to €90, as a consequence of which a working lone mother is down €28. Many of our poorest children are in lone parent households and these cuts hurt them even more.”

“The entirely foreseeable result of all these cuts has been a sharp rise in child poverty. A report from UNICEF published last week put the child poverty rate at 28.6% which accounts for 130,000 children. Ireland came 37th out of 41 countries studied with child poverty rates rising more steeply than here in just Croatia, Latvia, Greece and Iceland.”

“The free preschool year is supposed to be a universal benefit for all children, but many children with disabilities are prevented from availing of it due the absence of the necessary supports. The availability of SNAs to enable a child's attendance depends on where they live and ranges from none at all to cover for a portion of the week only. Many parents are forced to hire SNAs themselves or else the child is denied the opportunity to attend altogether.”  

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