Fionnan Sheehan: Benefits should favour those in greatest need
Well, you wouldn't start here. If you were designing a system of financial support for parents in raising their children, you wouldn't start out with a universal payment to all, regardless of their income.
Taking on board the State's obligation to assist in the cost of raising children from a societal perspective, there's a strong argument for a basic payment for all.
After that, the ideal scenario would be a weighted system where those in greatest need of financial support would receive it, with the payment still generous for those on low and middle incomes.