Removal of child benefit criticised

Wed, Nov 12, 2008, 00:00

THE REMOVAL of child benefit from 18 year olds would affect poorer children, Labour social welfare spokeswoman Róisín Shortall claimed.

She said that a minority of children from low-income families actually stayed on in school until the Leaving Cert.

"Education should not end at 18 years anyway, and all efforts should be made to ensure that children from low-income families remain in the education system past Leaving Certificate and into further education," Ms Shortall added.

Minister for Social and Family Affairs Mary Hanafin said she appreciated it was always very difficult for any family to have to take a financial hit.

"Unfortunately, when one is faced with the current economic situation and financial pressures, and given that the budget of my department is €19.5 billion, we are under pressure to find money to protect the people who will lose their jobs and their families," she said.

"The money had to be found somewhere," the Minister added.