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Provision of affordable childcare and not cuts will help lone parents back to work – Reilly

18 June, 2015

Speaking today after the joint Oireachtas European Union Affairs Committee in which she raised the issue of the European Commission’s Country Specific Recommendation (CSR) that the government needs to provide better access to affordable full-time childcare, Sinn Féin Senator Kathryn Reilly stated:

“Between 2008 and 2013, the number of children living both at risk of poverty and in consistent poverty jumped from 6% to 12%. This means that at least 135,000 children in Ireland, or one out of every eight, are experiencing material deprivation on a daily basis. Lone parent families are among the most vulnerable people in our society.  CSO figures show that 63% of lone parent families are living without basic necessities.

“This is the already stark reality in which Fine Gael and Labour wishes to introduce savage cuts to payments for one parent families. We are told that the cuts are being introduced to encourage lone parents to enter employment or education. Almost 12,000 parents, many of them already in employment, will lose up to €86 per week under these proposed cuts.”

“On top of this, we have a situation where childcare remains unaffordable and out of the reach of many families in the country. When these cuts were first proposed by Labour leader Joan Burton she promised that affordable childcare and afterschool care would be made available.”

“This has not happened, and we are now only weeks away from the introduction of these cuts. The anxiety and anger of one parent families is palpable as we approach the 2nd of July.”

Reilly continued:

“I am calling on Joan Burton to roll back on these savage cuts that will have such devastating and long-lasting effects on so many children and their families.”

“The government needs to focus on the European Commission’s Country Specific Recommendations (CSR) for Ireland in which they outline that the government needs to take steps to increase access to affordable full-time childcare.

“The governments measures to cut lone parent family payments will do not thing to alleviate poverty or to help lone parents back to work.”

“However, a concentrated government approach on providing affordable childcare would help to alleviate poverty by helping many parents into the workforce and help others who currently undertake family care duties and can only work part-time, to be able to commit to full-time employment.”

“We need to have more enlightened measures to deal with helping lone parents, and in particular women, into the workforce through progressive policies which benefit all of society instead of more thoughtless austerity measures.” 

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