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NWCI calls for Budget 2019 to fund Women’s Health Action Plan

Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Launching its Pre-Budget Submission 2019 today, the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) has called on the Government to prioritise investment in the area of women’s health and a reversal of cuts and investment in crucial services for women.

Women’s Health Action Plan

Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI said,

“In its recent report into CervicalCheck, Dr Scally recommended giving ‘consistent, expert and committed attention within the health system’ to women’s health. Budget 2019 is a unique opportunity for the Government to follow through on this recommendation and ensure sufficient funding of at least €100,000 for the Women’s Health Action Plan that is currently being developed. Furthermore, sufficient resources need to be allocated as a priority to address the consequences of the Cervical Check controversy and for the provision of abortion care services following the successful referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment.”

Reversal of cuts to crucial payments and services for women

She continued,

“Budget 2019 must reverse cuts made throughout the austerity years to crucial payments that have pushed many women into poverty and economic vulnerability. A particularly vulnerable group are lone parents, the majority of whom are women. Measures must include a restoration of income disregards to all categories of lone parents on One Family Payment, Jobseekers Transitional Payment and Job Seekers Allowance.  

In addition, we must see a restoration of carers allowance and carers benefit to 2009 rates and a Budget line to restore the 2012 pension changes which had a detrimental impact on older women who took time out from work during their careers to care for children and family members.”

Investment in social housing and greater security of tenure

Jennifer McCarthy Flynn, Head of Policy, NWCI said,

“We have seen a silent feminisation of homelessness in Ireland. Women with children continue to be amongst the fastest growing groups of people who are homeless. Yet there has been a lack of gendered analysis and policy development to take account of the distinct experiences of women’s homelessness. The private rental housing market is unable to provide the level of security of tenure needed by these female headed low income families. We therefore need to see urgent investment and increased delivery of social and affordable housing, combined with measures to increase the security of tenure in the private rental market. “

Equality Statement

The Government has committed to a process of gender budgeting which was subsequently advanced in collaboration NWCI over the period 2016-2018.

Jennifer McCarthy Flynn concluded,

“Gender Budgeting has the potential to transform the way our Budget supports reaching overarching policy goals such as the reduction of inequality. A next step in the process would be the publication of an Equality Impact Statement alongside Budget 2019 which would include an analysis of how the already committed € 2.6 billion expenditure will impact women and men in Ireland. In addition, we need to see investment into the establishment of a training fund to support cross departmental training on gender budgeting going forward.”

Read full version of NWCI's Pre- Budget Submission: https://www.nwci.ie/index.php/learn/publication/investing_in_womens_futures


For more information, please contact Silke Paasche, Tel. 085 858 9104, silkep@nwci.ie