Minister fails to rule out linking child benefit to school attendance – Ó Laoghaire
Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire this evening raised the burning issue of the proposal to link child benefit to school attendance with Minister Katherine Zappone, while asking about the marginalisation of children who find themselves attending school completion programmes.
Minister Zappone failed to take the opportunity to rule it out claiming that discussions were still ongoing in this regard
The Cork South Central TD said afterwards:
“With this programme being aimed at school attendance, and being targeted at those who are deemed to be at risk, generally coming from particularly marginalized and impoverished backgrounds, does the Minister consider government proposals to link child benefit to school attendance to be almost counterintuitive?
“When you consider that these children who are diverted into this system, tend to be there in order to support school attendance, usually due to insignificant or a lack of supports at home from a young age, would it not be a ridiculous thing to propose that children like these should suffer indirectly by linking their, or their younger siblings school attendance to the payment of child benefit to their respective parents or guardians?
“The response from the Minister did address the question, but she failed to take the opportunity to rule it out claiming that discussions were still ongoing in this regard, which was regretful to say the least.
“I found this answer to be completely inadequate. This was the opportunity for the minister to put this issue to bed. Many of these children come from homes that experience a plethora of issues and social disadvantages. There seems to be a bit of ambiguity among the government benches in regard to this proposal. It needs to be clarified.”