OPEN, Barnardos and the National Women's Council of Ireland welcome Joan Burton's acknowledgement
19 Apr 2012
OPEN, Barnardos and the National Women's Council of Ireland have welcomed Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton's, acknowledgment that lone parents should not lose the One Parent Family Payment when their youngest child reaches the age of 7 unless a comprehensive system of "Scandinavian" style childcare is in place. However, the three organisations continued to express concern with the progression of Section 4 of the Social Welfare Bill containing the proposed changes to the payment without guarantees in place.
Frances Byrne, Director of OPEN, said that the organisations are urgently seeking a meeting with the Minister to fully understand the Department's intentions with regards to the new proposals.
A collective statement from the three organisations fronting the 7 Is Too Young Campaign said: "We are very pleased with Minister Burton's announcement and her understanding of the ongoing issue that inaccessible and expensive childcare causes for lone parents. However, we are concerned that the "Scandinavian" model the Minister referenced is years away from being a possibility in Ireland. We would very much like to see the State work towards such comprehensive and affordable childcare and after school care but it does not seem realistic to us that this could be fully implemented in the next 3 years. We are also concerned that an attempt to rush into childcare provision on the basis of activation would not result in high quality services that best meet the needs of children."
"In the absence of a coherent plan for the development of childcare and after school care provision, we would like to see Section 4 of the Social Welfare Bill removed for its current progression through the Dail. We are concerned that its inclusion when there is so little clarity surrounding its implementation will create ongoing fear and uncertainty for lone parents who are already worried about their family's future."