Taoiseach Enda Kenny speaking during Leaders’ Questions last Wednesday
You may recall how last week Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced that, from July 2, lone parents who work more than 19 hours per week will lose their One Parent Family Payment when their youngest child turns seven.
It’s been reported – and claimed by Fianna Fáil – that the measure will see up to 32,000 families see their income drop by €86 per week.
During Leaders’ Questions on Wednesday last, Mr Kenny told the Dáil:
“We need to transform what we are doing in getting people back into the world of work, including lone parents. Many of them have said to me that this is what they want to do.“
Justine McCarthy wrote in yesterday’s Sunday Times:
“During leaders’ questions last Wednesday, Enda Kenny, the taoiseach, reiterated that payments to lone parents will be cut from next July as an incentive to get them back to work. This is a policy loaded with erroneous presumptions. It insinuates that lone parents, the vast majority of whom are mothers, are lazy slobs who lie on their sofas all day, munching junk food and watching vacuous reality TV shows. It suggests the mothers themselves are to blame for being unemployed, and not the political class whose self-interested management of the country caused an economic and employment catastrophe.”
“Instead of beating mothers back to work with a big stick, the government ought to address the inequalities that skew the labour market against women. Females are the country’s most prolific academic achievers but they are appallingly under-represented on company boards and management floors. Women in Ireland are still paid 14% less than men, with 50% of women workers on €20,000 a year or less.
“At the same time, Irish childcare costs are the highest of 34 OECD countries. Two decades ago an incoming Fianna Fail-PD government undertook to address childcare costs. It did, by providing tax shelters for creche operators. If this government wants single parents to go to work, it should make the workplace fair. However, it’s simpler to impose a crude and draconian measure that will deprive many lone-parent families of up to €80 a week, with obvious ripple consequences for their children.”