Monday 20 November 2017

Joan Burton under pressure over cuts to lone parent payments

FF leader Michael Martin says Labour chief whip is against changes

Tánaiste Joan Burton
Tánaiste Joan Burton
John Downing

John Downing

LABOUR leader Joan Burton was today accused of forcing lone parent cuts which even her own party chief whip, Emmet Stagg, was against.

Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin said many lone parents were down €70 per week due to changes which kicked in on July 1. He said mothers did not have adequate affordable child  care to allow them find work or return to education or training.

He pointed to a letter sent by Labour chief and Kildare North TD Emmet Stagg to a constituent in which he condemned the cuts.

“Deputy Stagg, your chief whip, does not agree with you,” the Fianna Fáil leader said.

“The bottom line is that cuts to lone parents are causing severe hardship and you know this, Tánaiste,” Mr Martin told the Dail.

Ms Burton, who is also Social Protection Minister said Fianna Fáil in government spent about €1bn per year on lone parent payments. “It never lifted them out of poverty,” she said.

Ms Burton said the changes were designed to help lone parents move beyond dependence on welfare and social welfare officers wanted to meet individually with parents who have problems.

Sinn Féin spokesman Peadar Toibín said Mr Stagg was guilty of “double duplicity.”  He told a constituent locally he was against cuts he had not only voted for, but as chief whip, obliged fellow Labour deputies to also vote for them.

Mr Toibín also said the Government had to change the law to prevent a repeat of the shameful treatment of the workers at Clerys store in Dublin last month.

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