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Ó Snodaigh proposes amendment to protect lone parent families

25 March, 2015 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Social Protection Aengus Ó Snodaigh T.D. today tabled an amendment to the Social Welfare Bill that proposes to call off the scheduled cuts to lone parent allowance. Deputy Ó Snodaigh’s amendment aims to raise the cut-off age for the allowance to children of twelve years instead of seven, in light of the lack of adequate afterschool and childcare facilities, as well as statistically higher rates of deprivation suffered by lone parent families.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“The series of cuts to the lone parent allowance has been one of the nastiest attacks on Irish people, targeting a particularly vulnerable group in our society. These cuts, enacted by Minister Burton, have severely reduced payments by lowering the qualifying age for children for lone parent allowance from 16 to just seven years old.

“The latest cut, which drops the age from ten to just seven years, is due to begin on the 2nd of July. This means that thousands of lone parents will suffer significant financial loss, with almost 12,000 experiencing a loss of up to €86 a week. This reduction in the weekly income of lone parent families will have serious consequences.

“We have seen study after study showing the huge rates of deprivation and poverty that is the daily reality for hundreds of thousands of Irish people, particularly those in one parent families. CSO figures show that 63% of lone parent families are living without basic necessities. There is also a disturbing increase in homelessness among these families.

“I have tabled an amendment that will raise the cut-off age for the lone parent scheme to twelve years. To have the cut off age at seven years is simply too young, particularly in the absence of affordable childcare and afterschool care that was promised by the government and not delivered.

“Lone parent families must be supported in every way possible, not punished. If the government and Minister Burton are serious about supporting lone parent families or getting lone parents back to work or education, then supports should be kept in place, not pulled apart.”

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