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Tánaiste is forcing children into poverty - McDonald

16 April, 2015 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald criticised cuts implemented by Tánaiste Joan Burton to the Lone Parent Family Allowance affecting 30,200 families.

The cuts are being implemented despite huge poverty rates among one parent families.

The cuts are also taking place in spite of failed promises made by the leader of the Labour Party to ensure adequate childcare to support lone parents who wish to work.

Speaking during Leader’s Questions in the Dáil today, Deputy McDonald said:

“Tánaiste, since taking office you have made eight separate cuts to the One Parent Family Payment. Across the state over 30,200 lone parents are receiving letters from your department. As their youngest child has turned seven they are being taken off the One Parent Family Payment. Thousands will see their weekly income fall.

“These are real people Tánaiste, struggling to get by and you are pushing them into poverty. And the number of one parent families in poverty is rising. A huge problem for these families is the availability and cost of childcare. Child care can cost as much as 52% of the take-home pay of a lone parent.

“When you introduced cuts to the One Parent Family Allowance in 2012 you said this change was dependent, and I quote, ‘on there being a system of safe, affordable and accessible childcare in place, similar to what is found in the Scandinavian countries’. You said that ‘If this is not forthcoming, the measure will not proceed.’”

 “Tánaiste, there is no Scandinavian childcare system available to the thousands of other lone parents whose income you are going to cut come this July. Why are you taking money from the pockets and food from the table of some of the poorest families in the state? Why are you forcing children into poverty?”

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