Government tolerating child poverty in today’s budget - Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD
Sinn Féin’s Children & Youth Affairs spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has criticised the failure of the government, and particularly Minister Zappone, to tackle child poverty in their budget announcements earlier today.
Deputy Ó Laoghaire said;
“Using latest available figures, one in 10 children are growing up in consistent poverty in Ireland, meaning they are going to school hungry, with no warm coat in winter and not having a square meal every second day.”
“It is a sign of this Governments priority that some of the key proposals to tackle child poverty advocated not only by Sinn Féin, but also by Barnardos, Early Childhood Ireland and other key stakeholders, were not taken on board.”
“It is regrettable that we did not see an increase in the back to school clothing allowance, the back to school footwear allowance, and an increase in the FIS threshold were put on the backburner.”
“It is also unfortunate to see a paltry €5 increase to maternity benefit in this budget. Ireland ranks 32nd out of 34 OECD countries when it comes to maternity benefit. Sinn Féin allocated an increase of 2 weeks and €40 in the payment, as we acknowledge that maternity benefit required a significant monetary increase to prevent mothers being forced back to work early due to financial constraints.”
“On that note, the cut off for one-parent family payment was one of the most vindictive and vicious cuts of the last government, and remains at 7 years, which is appalling.”
Deputy Ó Laoghaire also noted that the additional funding for childcare is certainly welcome, however it is entirely inadequate.
“The government have proposed new money amounting to €35million for childcare and related areas, whereas Sinn Féin proposed a package of €187million.”
“The universal subsidy will only provide €20 per week for a child in fulltime care, where many families in urban areas pay the equivalent of a second mortgage in childcare costs.”