independent

Thursday 24 April 2014

Children on their free visits to doctors thanks to #Budget2014

They don’t appear to be big fans of Health Minister James Reilly

The introduction of free GP visits to children under-5 years has been lauded by some, and criticised by others.

Around 240,000 families are expected to benefit from the scheme.

But we spoke to those who will be affected most by the Government's initiative - the children themselves.

Children at Panda Play centre in Dublin insist they don't like going to the doctor, and we suspect they're not Michael Noonan's biggest fans.

One little girl said: "No. Not if it's free." Her friend agreed: "Because I don't like them doing the pointy things."

Meanwhile the owner of Panda Play centre said the Budget's maternity cuts have "stressed out" parents.

Siobhan O'Neil told independent.ie the cuts will have a devastating effect on everyone.

The Government announced in the Budget that it is to introduce a standard maternity benefit payment of €230, which will result in the State paying €30m less to new mothers.

New mothers will see a cut of more than €800 in maternity benefit

The cut in the maternity benefit payment will be by €32 a week from the current top rate of €262. Thousands of employers who pay top-up payments to their employees when they go on maternity leave are also likely to take a financial hit for the change.

Large families are to be hit with a child benefit cut of €120 a year for four or more children.

"Everyone is stressed out by this," she told independent.ie.

"Last year we had a tax added to maternity pay and now suddenly we are being cut again and personally I don't see how it's fair."

"Being a mother is the most difficult job in the world. We have all of the stress of a job and we have all of the guilt of having children at home and having to leave them when we go back to work."

She said mothers will be forced to return to work earlier after maternity leave.

"Now we feel we have to go back in sooner because we can't afford it (to be at home with our children)."

"It's year after year, suddenly it seems that women are being targeted, families are being targeted."

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