Mothers who stay at home have questioned why the Government is recognising their work by giving a tax credit to their spouses.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe announced he was increasing the Home Carer Tax Credit by €100, “to support stay-at-home parents”.
The tax credit, previously worth €1,600, is available to couples who are married or in a civil partnership, where one of them is a full time carer.
The tax credit is applied to the earnings of the working partner.
“So they’re going to recognise my work, by paying it to my spouse?” said Ailís Ní Chofaigh, a mother-of-one.
She said it was “offensive” that the Government was failing to value the work done by stay at home parents – the vast majority of whom are women.
“It’s not income into my bank account, it’s not pay and it’s not recognition.
"It’s a little bit insulting, to be honest. Is that what my work is valued at? A €100 tax credit, over the course of a year? Are you kidding me?”
Ms Ní Chofaigh, who is based in Limerick and whose son is four-and-a-half, said it was offensive that the Government did not value the work of parents who cared for children at home.
In contrast it did appear to recognise the value of childcare outside of the home through its reduction in créche fees.
“Stay-at-home parents work, we work hard. We just aren’t paid. We aren’t valued and we aren’t represented. And there’s no way that isn’t influenced by the fact that 98pc of stay-at-home parents in Ireland are women,” she said.
“What activist groups are there for us?
"What feminist groups?
Pauline O’Reilly, the Green Party senator and founder of Stay at Home Parents Ireland, said that there had been “amazing” supports for childcare costs announced in the Budget but she believed more needed to be done for stay-at-home parents.
The Government’s plan to cut creche fees was hailed as a breakthrough for women’s equality by the National Women’s Council of Ireland, which said “a lack of affordable childcare is the single biggest barrier to women’s equality in the workplace”.
Meanwhile, One Family, which represents single-parent families, said “the increase of €12 for core social welfare payment and a €2 additional payment for children will do nothing to mitigate against poverty in 2023”.
A number of measures in Budget 2023 were aimed at easing the rising cost of living for women and families.
For the first time, IVF will be available on the public health service after funding was announced for the fertility treatment which is currently only available through unregulated clinics, at significant expense.
The treatment will be available to couples who are finding it hard to conceive after a landmark assisted human reproduction bill makes its way through the Oireachtas.
The Government said that funding will be made available next year for “a dedicated women’s health package”.
The recently launched free contraception scheme has also been extended from its original age limit of 17-25 to 16-30.
Free contraception for all women was first promised over four years ago. Hormone replacement therapy will now be subject to zero per cent Vat, as will mooncups, menstrual sponges and period pants. Products like tampons and sanitary pads were already subject to zero per cent Vat.