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Minister for Children needs to speak out on Child Benefit – Ó Laoghaire

12 May, 2016 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD, has called on the Minister for Children to ensure that the proposal to link Child Benefit to School Attendance is withdrawn.

The Cork South-Central TD said:

“This proposal is a deeply misguided, and potentially very damaging to the welfare of some of the most vulnerable Children. It is contained in a section entitled ‘Giving Vulnerable Young People the Best Chance in Life’; it is difficult to see how taking even more money out of the some of the poorest families in the country, would do anything other than further harm their chances in life.

“Some of the commentary on this from TDs such as the now Minister Denis Naughten, has focused on the savings that might be made from this proposal. The question needs to be asked, is this about Child Welfare, and about Education, or is it about money?

“If it is really about children and giving them the best possible chance in life, the Government would be better advised to consider reversing the cuts to, and expanding upon, the School Completion Programme, which provides supports and assistance, to ensure better school attendance.

“It won't achieve that by cutting Universal Payments that all families rely upon to meet their basic needs. Cuts to Child Benefit will only see more and more families fall further in to poverty and deprivation.

“I am calling on Minister for Children Katherine Zappone to ensure that this proposal is withdrawn promptly from the programme for Government, it is essential that she speak out on this issue, and to recognise the impact it would have on thousands of Irish families.” 

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