Thursday 25 April 2019

'Government believes the stereotype that those on social welfare are just sponging off State' - lone parent who ended up homeless

Pessimistic: Lone parent Niamh Byrne at home in Dublin. Photo: Arthur Carron
Pessimistic: Lone parent Niamh Byrne at home in Dublin. Photo: Arthur Carron
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

LONE parent Niamh Byrne believes the minor increase to her social welfare allowance won't make the slightest difference to her vast financial burdens.

The mother of two from Dublin often stays up until 3am doing college assignments, as her day-to-day life is dominated caring for her children, one of whom has special needs.

Ms Byrne (26) said yesterday's Budget was "full of empty promises" from a Government preparing for an upcoming election.

"The €5 increase in the social welfare won't go a long way at all for people like me, but I do appreciate the 100pc return of the Christmas bonus," he said.

"I also understand that lone parents will be €1,000 better off per year, but I'm afraid this is just going to be another empty promise.

"I would love nothing more than to go back to work, but it's just so difficult when trying to look after my seven-year-old son, who suffers from dyspraxia.

"I'm training to become a geriatric nurse, but the only time I have to study and do assignments is when the kids go to bed."

The young mother, who had fallen into homelessness had no choice but to move out of emergency accommodation as her son could not cope with the restricted, unfamiliar surroundings.

Her family are now living in cramped conditions in her father's home on the Navan Road in Dublin.

"I've been on the housing list for eight years now and I think the Government and council believe the stereotype that those on social welfare are just sponging off the State," she said. "There are so many of us that they've become totally desensitised."

Irish Independent

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