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Offending provision in personal insolvency guidelines must be removed – McDonald

27 March, 2013 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has called on the Taoiseach to clarify if the offending provision in the leaked personal insolvency agency guidelines forcing women out of the workforce will be removed before final publication.

Deputy McDonald said:

“For decades Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour when in Government have failed to deliver an equitable affordable childcare system. This failure has adversely affected women.

“Families are paying up to €1,000 per child per month on pre-school childcare costs. Women continue to disproportionately populate low paid jobs.

“Many women have already had to drop out of the work force because they simply cannot afford to meet these costs out of their income.

“Despite the Taoiseach’s protests in the Dáil this morning he failed to clarify if the offending section of the personal insolvency agency guidelines on childcare costs would be removed before publication in the coming weeks.

“Not a month passes without Fine Gael and Labour introducing some measure that rows back on hard won rights for women.

“Lone parents are being forced back into the workplace when their child reaches 7 years of age regardless of whether they can afford childcare. Government has cut Child Benefit, the very payment low and middle income families rely on to afford childcare costs.

“If introduced Croke Park 2 will see frontline workers’ pay reduced by a further 8 and 11 per cent and women will be hurt hardest by this massive reduction in salary. Ninety one per cent of nurses in the public health system are women. Eighty eight per cent of primary school teachers are women, and women make up 69% of secondary, community and comprehensive teachers.

“Leaked guidelines from the personal insolvency agency include a provision that states where a person is working and paying childcare as a consequence of employment the costs should not exceed the income of employment. Such an approach would automatically exclude from the workforce every low paid single woman with more than one child in pre-school care and experiencing mortgage distress.

“In the civil service alone women make up 75% of clerical officers with a starting salary of €22,000 a year. Ten per cent of low income families in receipt of family income support are public sector workers.

“This latest debacle is yet another black mark against Fine Gael and Labours record on equality.”


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