Tanaiste comes under fire again for loan parents cuts

Tánaiste Joan Burton

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

TANAISTE Joan Burton has again come under fire over her department’s proposed cuts on payments to lone parents.

Ms Burton was today accused of implementing cuts that are “anti-woman” and “anti-child”.

The controversy surrounding the Government’s changes to payments to lone parents have dominated Dail proceedings this week.

The measures will mean that single parents in receipt of social welfare will be required to seek employment or training as soon as their youngest child turns seven years old.

Groups representing lone parents say 30,000 families will be adversely affected.

During ‘Leader’s Questions, Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald accused Ms Burton of adopting a “Thatcherite” stance towards lone parents.

Ms McDonald said that Ms Burton had previously pledged not to cut lone parents allowance until affordable and adequate childcare was in place.

The Labour Party leader defended the Government’s childcare record, stating that significant investment has been made in communities.

“Over the last 3 years there has been a complete revamp of community based childcare to make it more affordable,” she told the Dáil.

“In the North of Ireland where Sinn Fein are in power, supports for families are significantly smaller than in Ireland,” Ms Burton added.

The exchanges became heated after Ms Burton raised the issue of Jean McConville, the mother-of-ten who was abducted and brutally murdered by the IRA.

Earlier, Fianna Fail claimed that people are unable to find a home because of the issues of caps on rent allowance.

The party’s Education spokesperson Charlie McConalogue said Ms Burton reduced rent supplement in 2012 and has not amended the rent cap to reflect the current market conditions.

Ms Burton turned the issue back on Fianna Fail, accusing the party of not building enough social houses when in Government.

She said Fianna Fáil was part of a “bubble of greed and speculation”.