Protest over lone-parent cuts

Sat, Feb 18, 2012, 00:00

Lone parents have staged a protest against cuts to their social welfare benefits.

Opposition politicians joined members of the Single Parents Acting for the rights of our Kids (Spark) on the march from the Garden of Remembrance to the GPO in Dublin.

Jointly organised by the Siptu trade union, the group for single parents living in Ireland have united to protect children from cuts in Budget 2012.

Sinn Féin’s Aengus O Snodaigh and Mary Lou McDonald, Richard Boyd Barrett of the United Left Alliance, and Senator Jillian van Turnhout were among the politicians supporting lone parents.

Mr O Snodaigh, the party’s spokesman on social protection, said: "Budget 2012 removed many of the protections that were rightly put in place to help lone parents with the costs associated with returning to work. It has reintroduced poverty traps and put in place obstacles to work despite the rhetoric from the Government that the opposite was its objective."

"I can tell you without hesitation that the idea that lone parents want to sit on welfare is a myth. I have witnessed first-hand their desire to work. But they must have the supports to do so."

Cuts include a drop in rent allowance, in children’s allowance for families with more than three children, and reductions in the back-to-school and fuel allowances.

The one-parent family allowance has also been removed for people on Community Employment schemes.

The upper age limit of the youngest child for new claimants will be reduced to 12 years from April 2012 and reduced further to seven on a phased basis.

PA