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Budget2020: Research announced on maintenance payments must lead to a Statutory Maintenance Agency

Published: Tuesday, October 08, 2019

The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) today welcomed the announcement of research to examine international best practice in relation to maintenance payments, and said that this research must lead to the establishment of a Statutory Maintenance Agency which has the potential to be a game changer for lone parents.

Statutory Maintenance Agency

“NWCI welcomes announcement today by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection of research to examine best practice in relation to maintenance payments. For women and families, best practice when it comes to maintenance is the establishment of a Statutory Maintenance Agency. NWCI looks forward to working with the Minister and relevant Government Departments to ensuring the Statutory Maintenance Agency is women centred, and that the experiences of lone parents, particularly those who have experienced domestic abuse, are at the centre of its work.”

“A maintenance agency was a key NWCI Budget recommendation, to support women and the children of lone parents to achieve financial independence and to move out of poverty. Ultimately, the agency must ensure that women are no longer forced to secure child maintenance through the adversarial court system in an approach that is costly, complex and time consuming and that no woman is forced to seek maintenance directly from an abusive former partner.


“NWCI has consistently campaigned for significant investment into affordable, accessible quality childcare in Ireland. We welcome the additional 54 million for early years including increasing access to the National Childcare Scheme. We look forward to seeing the detail of this spend, in particular its impact on lone parents.  It is crucial now that a commitment is given to further investing in a comprehensive model  of early years education and care which will also focus on improving the wages of childcare workers, predominately women on low pay.”

Social Welfare Payments – One Parent Family Payment income disregard and Living Alone Allowance

“NWCI welcomes the increases to crucial social welfare payments and supports for the most vulnerable women and their families. In particular, we welcome the € 15 restoration to the One Parent Family Payment income disregard. However, this will only bring the payment back to pre Budget 2012 levels. Lone parents, the majority of whom are women, remain the group in our society at most risk of poverty. In addition, we welcome the increase of € 5 to the Living Alone Allowance which will in particular benefit vulnerable older and disabled people, predominantly women.”

Political Choices

“NWCI is deeply concerned by some of the choices made in this Budget.  The Budget did not increase the national minimum wage nor did it make progress towards establishing the Living Wage as a basic standard for workers’ wages. We question raising the threshold for the inheritance tax which will only benefit the already most wealthy in Ireland. Women are more likely to be in low paid, precarious work; had the Minister chosen to publish a Gender Quality Impact Statement, these issues would have been more apparent in Government’s decision making process.”


For more information, please contact Sarah Clarkin, Communications Officer, NWCI, Tel. 085 861 9087 or Silke Paasche, Head of Communications, NWCI, Tel. 085 858 9104.