Burton in heated exchanges with SF over lone-parent cuts

Tánaiste cites case of Jean McConville as example of Sinn Féin notion of welfare


Tánaiste Joan Burton recalled the IRA’s killing of widow Jean McConville in Belfast, during heated exchanges with the Sinn Féin deputy leader over the cutback to the lone-parent allowance.

Mary Lou McDonald said Ms Burton had pledged she would not introduce cuts until there was adequate, accessible, affordable childcare.

“My concern today is that the Minister is taking money from the pockets of lone parents,” she added.

Ms Burton replied: “Sinn Féin has a concept of a welfare country. Let me tell the deputy about welfare.

“Jean McConville had 12 children and what did Sinn Féin’s associates in the republican movement do?”

Sinn Féin TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn claimed the Government did not give a damn. “They are hypocrites,” he said.

‘Thatcherite stance

’ Earlier, Ms McDonald accused the Tánaiste of engaging in “a Thatcherite stance” and “a position of utter indifference”. She said some lone parents would lose €87 a week.

Ms Burton said her Department of Social Protection had engaged in a complete revamp of community-based childcare over the past three years. There was now high-quality childcare at affordable, discounted prices for people going to work.

Ms Burton said she wanted to move to a situation where parents were parents, regardless of their relationship status. “It is time the country moved on and acknowledged all parents are equal,” she added.

Fianna Fáil TD Charlie McConalogue said 30,000 single parents and their children would be affected.

“This is against the backdrop of the highest number of homeless families ever recorded, with 1,038 children from 490 families being housed in hotels across Dublin alone,” he added.