The success of the recent referendum on same-sex marriage has shown that Ireland is a changed country; welcoming a diverse range of families in the name of equality. However, lone parent families still face severe levels of poverty, inequality and discrimination. Cuts to the lone parent payment, coming in July 2015, further condone this inequality for lone parent families.
In response to the cuts, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Social Protection Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD recently launched a postcard campaign designed to reverse cuts to the Lone Parent Allowance. Cuts to these lone parent payments are due to begin on July 2nd and will negatively impact almost 12,000 families.
This campaign has been welcomed by Cllr. John Brady who pointed to the negative impact such cuts will have on the 12% of households in Wicklow that are headed by a lone parent. Cllr. Brady explained; we know from the statistics (SILC, 2013) that 23% of lone parent families live in consistent poverty. This is almost three times higher than the general population. The proposed reduction of income will further penalise the poorest children in the Irish State, 65% of who live in one-parent families”. Cllr. Brady went on to explain that “any reform of lone parent payments can only commence when there is adequate childcare and other supports available and this has not happened under this coalition Government”.
We know that Ireland has among the highest childcare costs in the OECD. For most low and middle-income households, childcare costs are a serious concern, and this is made all the more burdensome when there is only one parent trying to juggle work and care. It is time, at a national level, to really cherish all the children of the state equally and any proposed social welfare reform must give children in lone parent families the supports they need to prosper with the respect and opportunity afforded to children in other families.
Cllr Brady concluded “The Sinn Féin team of councillors on Wicklow County Council have also tabled a motion in support of one parent families and calling on the government to reverse the decision to cut the Lone Parent Allowance”. Ends
If you will be impacted by these changes or care about those who will be, support the Sinn Fein campaign or join the protest against these cuts that has been organised by Single Parents Acting for the Rights of kids (SPARK) outside Dail Eireann at 3:30pm next Wednesday June 10th.