• The Government’s cut to the One Parent Family Payment (OPFP) takes money from the pockets of many one parent families, exacerbating the already severe child poverty crisis.
  • Already, 12% of children in the State are experiencing deprivation and are at risk of poverty.
  • Single parent families are one of the most vulnerable groups in Ireland and experience significantly higher rates of consistent deprivation than married and cohabiting counterparts. Yet, according to statistics from the 2011 census, fully 1 in 4 families with children in Ireland is a one-parent family.

Cllr Eilis Ryan for Dublin’s North Inner City stated today: “The cuts were introduced on the pretext that it will serve as a labour activation measure. However, the most significant barrier to workplace activation is the low number of jobs at a living wage and extremely high childcare costs Ireland (we have the highest childcare costs in the OECD), making it impossible for many lone parents to raise additional income by working more hours. Many lone parents who are already working will see cuts to income of €30 to €80 or more per week.”

Lorraine Hennessy, Workers’ Party representative for Dublin Mid-West and campaigner for lone parent’s rights commented further “Groups such the National Women’s Council of Ireland have said that childcare costs remain one of the major barriers to workplace activation. When Joan Burton of the Labour Party discussed the implementation of the cuts in April of 2012, she promised that childcare provisions would be implemented prior to any cuts. No such provisions have been made.

“Without a programme for access to decent jobs and serious state investment in affordable childcare, lone parent cuts will do nothing to increase labour force participation; instead they will simply force children to do with less.”

Cllr Ted Tynan for Cork’s North East added “Aside from the fact that the payment cuts cannot even function as advertised: as a stick to beat lone parents back into the workforce, parents should not be forced into activation in the first place. The reality of the cuts is that they are in place as part of the general programme of austerity for the benefit of investors.

“This austerity regime has meant increases in charges and taxation coupled with cuts to public services and social welfare, all to pay the price of the financial crisis of 2008. The money goes from the pockets of lone parents, into the pockets of bankers and the ECB. Many of these lone parents have important caring responsibilities, including caring for older family members, or dealing with disabled children and should not be forced into work.”

Jimmy Dignam, Workers’ representative for Dublin North West concluded by saying “The SPARK (Single Parents Acting for the Rights of their Kids) community has been actively campaigning to draw attention to the damage that these cuts will have. The Workers’ Party encourage all lone parents and supporters to organise in their communities and to get involved in campaigns such as SPARK to help stop the Government from continuing to impoverish children.”

“The Workers’ Party condemn the savage cuts to lone parents and call for an immediate stop to cuts to lone parent families. In addition, the Workers’ Party calls for investment in affordable state child-care facilities and state investment in jobs which provide a living wage, enabling lone parents who would like to work the opportunity.”