Sunday 4 December 2016

Naughten: Benefit cut for school absence is not about fining parents

Barry Lennon

Published 12/05/2016 | 14:07

Minister for Communications, Climate Change and Natural Resources Denis Naughten Photo: Tom Burke
Minister for Communications, Climate Change and Natural Resources Denis Naughten Photo: Tom Burke

Communications Minister Denis Naughten has insisted his proposal to link child benefit to school attendance “is not about cutting child benefit”.

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Mr Naughten said the proposal, which would see the payments withheld following absence from school, is about targeting fraud instead.

“What I’m hoping to achieve is to improve the existing law. About €75million is paid out to children that don’t exist, are no longer resident in the country or are no longer entitled to the benefit,” he said on RTÉ’s News at One.

“This is rather than going through the bureaucratic system which clearly isn’t working.

“All I’m looking for is to link-up the database of the Department of Education which records the children starting off and the database that’s operated by Tusla where if a child is missing more than 20 days a school-year it is reported.”

Mr Naughten also said that this proposal is to “encourage parents to ensure their children attend school” and is not about making savings.

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