Tuesday 27 June 2017

'Neanderthal' row over 'farming out' children

Family values: Tipperary Independent deputy Mattie McGrath. Photo: Tom Burke
Family values: Tipperary Independent deputy Mattie McGrath. Photo: Tom Burke
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

An Independent TD has been accused of "Neanderthal" comments after suggesting that the country "will find out in years to come that farming out children to full-time care was not the right solution".

During a Dáil debate on the Budget, Mattie McGrath said the family unit was "almost alien nowadays" and was being undermined by the decision to subsidise commercial childcare.

"The mother or father who cares for their child or children in the home should also receive childcare support.

"Self-employed people who operate businesses from their homes, as many do, also need to be supported," he said.

However, Fianna Fáil's Shane Cassells said it was among "the most derogatory statements" he'd ever heard in the chamber. "What a disgusting and Neanderthal statement to come out with.

"It insults not just hard-working parents who care for and love their children but those hard-working professional people in the sector who over the past three decades have moved that sector on to a different plateau," Mr Cassells said.

Mr McGrath told the Irish Independent last night that he found the accusation of making "Neanderthal statements" to be insulting.

"It's derogatory and ill-becoming of him," he said.

Mr McGrath said it was his "strong view" that the "best place for a child is in the home".

But he added that he understood families faced different challenges and noted he had helped set up and run a community crèche in his own village.

Irish Independent

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