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Cuts to Lone Parent Allowance ‘anti-woman and anti-child’ – McDonald

25 June, 2015 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader, Mary Lou McDonald TD, has criticised  impending cuts to the Lone Parent Family Allowance for being ‘anti-woman and anti child’ in light of the fact that the cuts affect a group already disproportionately vulnerable to poverty and that no affordable or accessible childcare system has been put in place as promised.

Addressing Minister Alex White in the Dáil today, Deputy McDonald said;

“Minister, today is the last day that lone parents whose youngest child is 7 will receive the one parent family payment. Next week 30,000 lone parents will transferred onto the new transitional job seekers allowance. More than 10,000 of these people will have their weekly payments cut, some by as much as €87 per week

“If anyone is guilty of giving two fingers to their neighbours it is the Tánaiste as she introduces the eighth successive cut to lone parents. The overwhelming majority of these parents are women. Many are in low paid insecure jobs. Most are living at risk of poverty. All are struggling to raise their children in the most difficult of circumstances

“In 2012 the Tánaiste promised that this cut was dependent ‘on there being a system of safe, affordable and accessible childcare in place, similar to what is found in the Scandinavian countries ‘. She said that without affordable and accessible childcare ‘the measure will not proceed.’ Such a system is simply not available.

“When Fianna Fáil first cut child benefit Labour rightly decried the cut as anti-woman and said it highlighted the lack of influence that women had in cabinet. And yet there you are, introducing a measure that is anti-woman and anti-child.

“Lone parent families have suffered disproportionately under the last Government and your own. Many of these families live at risk of poverty. I don’t know Minister if you have met any of these women that will be affected by this ‘reform’. They want to know how they will make up the €87 that they will be down, a cut of great magnitude.

“Will the Labour Party and the Tánaiste keep the promise she made in 2012 when introducing this cut? And in the absence of accessible and affordable childcare, will the Government reverse this cut and shed some light for these families?”

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