Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Social Protection, Senator Catherine Ardagh has said that while more lone parents are now in paid employment, it does not mean that their family incomes have increased or even stayed the same since facing cuts to social protection support.
The reforms the last Government implemented resulted in a reduction of payments to many lone parent headed families in Dublin 12. The reforms have now placed thousands of lone parents into a vicious welfare trap, and reduced the options available to them in the future.
Speaking in the Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection earlier today, Senator Ardagh said, “Lone parent families throughout Ireland are still struggling to afford essential goods and services. My own area of Dublin 12 has one of the highest affected percentages of lone parents in the country demographically.
“While some lone parents have been able to increase their hours of employment, many are now taking home less money as they have lost the weekly Lone Parent Allowance, and the secondary benefits that come with that payment.
“The vast majority of lone parents I’ve met in my community want to work, but they need their employment to pay them a decent salary. While more lone parents are now working they aren’t earning enough to sustain their family.
“We must identify the supports and barriers required for lone parents to access higher education and examine measures to increase participation.
“Lone parents are amongst one of the most vulnerable groups in Irish society. Ireland has some quite staggering poverty and deprivation statistics - 59% of lone parent households are currently experiencing deprivation. It’s evident that lone parents are still suffering as a result of the punitive policies pursued by the previous Government.
“For thousands of lone parent families, 2017 will be yet another year where they struggle to balance the books to afford essential goods and services. The Government must step up and do more to improve outcomes for lone parents and their children.” concluded Ardagh.