As the country reflects on a new beginning, SPARK are asking you to extend equality to children. Ireland has failed to protect children from the recession and child poverty rates have seen a shocking increase over the last few years. However, the picture is even bleaker for children in one parent families. 23% of our children live in consistent poverty and that is before the draconian cuts to incomes of working lone parents are introduced in July.
Join NWCI at the SPARK protest at the Dail Gates, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2 at 3:30pm on Weds 10th June
Join NWCI at the SPARK protest at the Dail Gates.
When: Wednesday, 10 June, 2015 - 14:30
Starts: 10 June 2015 15:30
Ends: 10 June 2015 16:30
Location: Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2
People Before Profit Alliance calls on Minister Burton to act on lone parents immediately
Ireland's history of its treatment of single mothers is shameful. Despite the closure of Magadelene laundries, the politics of shaming lone parents has continued. Ireland should not just be ashamed of its past treatment of lone parents, but also its present day treatment. It is a national disgrace that up to 63% of one parent families suffer two or more forms of deprivation on a regular basis. Consistent poverty in one parent families is 23% compared to 8.2% in the general population. To get away with keeping lone parents in poverty, past and present Governments along with the media have portrayed single mothers as a burden on society.
There have been multiple cuts to lone parents' benefits including the cuts in rent allowance and back to school allowance and loss of Christmas bonus since the crisis. Since Budget 2011 implemented by Minister Joan Burton, lone parents have seen Community Employment Schemes slashed, cuts in income disregard and SUSI grants. Despite the Governments talk of recovery a lone parent working 20 hours on minimum wage will lose €108 a week by 2017. There is no recovery for our poorest families, only more suffering. On July 2nd this year 32,000 lone parents will be cut off from their One Parent Family Payment when their youngest child is 7 years old, and by the end of this year this will rise 40,000 parents. Already 9000 lone parents have lost their payment. Ireland has the highest childcare costs, and for a one parent family this could be 53% of their net income. All of these changes are happening without delivery of the promised Scandinavian childcare system.
Answers to written questions from People Before Profit Alliance councillors revealed that over a third of housing and homeless lists in all Dublin’s councils are one parent families.
As 98% of lone parents are women this is clearly a gendered attack, but for those men parenting alone they also will suffer from these cuts. At the core of these cuts are thousands of children condemned to poverty, because Minister Burton sees their parents as the scapegoats for our economic crisis. To Labour and Fine Gael single mothers were an easy target.
For the past four years Minister Joan Burton has created a false stereotype of single parents. When she introduced her budget, 61% of lone parents were in some form of employment. Since the cuts in income disregard 36% of lone parents are now employed. This drop of those in work show that her policy is drastically failing.
Working part-time for many parents was an ideal option to allow them parent, and avoid childcare costs by working when children are in school. The Government has relied on the neo-liberal mantra that a job is the best way out of poverty. We only have to see the Dunnes Stores workers out on strike to know this is not true. The route out of poverty is having a living not minimum wage, combined with all the necessary supports such as childcare. As providing care does not create profit, it is not valued by our Government.
Labour have been very keen to use the recent marriage referendum to promote themselves as the party that champions equality. SPARK, a campaign group of single parents has been flagging #YesChildEquality calling and pleading with the Government to recognise their families as equal. For the 'unmarried' family our constitution still fails to recognise them. However, despite this in the constitution the decision to cruelly cut and attack lone parents should never have been an option for any politician our Government.
People Before Profit as an immediate call ask Minister Joan Burton to reverse these cuts. We also call on this Government and future Governments to equality and gender proof budgets.
We need a real plan to provide childcare, not for profit, but an affordable childcare system provided by the state. The race to the bottom in wages and work conditions particularly for women must be stopped and dramatically changed. We need to really tackle poverty by having a society that values the role of care by a parent, and provides our children with all the supports they need from education, childcare, housing to health. We need to put our children and families before profit.
SPARK: Protest against the savage cuts to One Parent Families
Join the National Women's Council of Ireland at the SPARK protest at the Dail Gates tomorrow Wednesday 10th June at 3.30pm.
We are asking people to stand up for our children and help stop these savage measures.
You can support us in the following ways:
1. Attend the protest.
2. Share the event through social media using the hashtag #YeschildequalityJune10
3. Join in the discussion and encourage family and friends to support our children.
4. Make a short video (no longer than 1 min. ) on why you are standing up for our children and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can upload it to our YouTube channel annd use in our campaign.
5. Lobby your public representative to reverse these cuts.
Coverage earlier in the year in the Irish Mirror on 18th Feb 2015
Scandal of plans to cut lone parents payment by €86 per week
Almost 12,000 lone parents are to have their payment slashed by up to €86 in a move described as “Thatcherite”..
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin hit out at the plans to cut the One Parent Family Payment for thousands of cash-strapped parents.
He said the “sneaky changes”, which will be introduced on July 2, were something Margaret Thatcher would impose and a right-wing move.
The proposals will see the maximum age lone parents can claim it drop from 17 to just seven.
Mr Martin said: “Many one-parent families depend on this payment to keep on top of their household budget but the changes which have been introduced year on year are placing an increased financial burden on them.
“These eligibility changes, which will see the payment taken off some families, come on top of cuts to child benefit, reductions in the Back to School and Clothing Allowance and a new tax on maternity benefit.
“Minister Joan Burton and her Government seem intent on attacking the most vulnerable, families in particular.”
Some 6,400 lone parents will lose up to €36.50 per week, 4,500 will lose up to €57 and 800, who are also carers, will lose a staggering €86 per week