Tánaiste defends new single parent benefits legislation
The Tánaiste Joan Burton has come out in defence of new legislation brought into effect this week.
The legislation states that single parents who are in receipt of social welfare will be required to look for work or training once their child turns seven.
According to the Department of Social Protection, parents who increase their part-time working hours to 19 will fare better under the new rules.
The Tánaiste’s comments put emphasis on the "transition period" for single parents when their youngest child is aged between 7 and 14-years-of-age. During this time, Burton highlighted that single parents were not expected to seek full-time work, but rather increase part-time work or enter into training or education.
Many were critical of the new legislation during the week with Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh pointing out that the promised childcare structure was not in place to support the reform, while TD Colm Keaveney described the decision as "Orwellian" on Twitter.
Ms Burton said:
“You’re not expected to seek work, but lots of people choose to, until you’re youngest child is 14....So it’s a 14-year period, from your baby, until that baby is likely to be in the first or second year of secondary school."
”In Ireland, childcare services are not quite as good as they are in a lot of other countries and I want to change that.”
“The first point in which we contact you is after the child turns 7, you go into a transition period which is about education, training, experience, if you want to work that’s fine, but that is your choice.”
“But when the child turns 14, we’re saying to you, in a couple of years your child will be a young adult, we want you to take the chance now to get involved in work and really get yourself financial independence for later on.”
Approximately one in four Irish families are single parent households. This reform affects roughly a quarter of our nation's families, and the legislation, as One Family (Ireland's agency for one-parent families) spokeperson, Stuart Duffin told RTÉ's Morning Ireland 'does not address the lived realities and challenges that can be associated with parenting alone'.