Zappone must intervene in child benefit row

12 May 2016

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone must make clear her opposition to Programme for Government plans to link child benefit payments to school attendance and take steps to make sure the proposal is nipped in the bud.

Under this plan, children who miss school, usually as a result of complex domestic and family issues, would be put a huge disadvantage and their parents would be put under even greater financial pressure.

I’m not sure what the motivation behind including this proposal in the Programme for Government has been, but it’s really not the kind of measure that should not be countenanced by any Irish Government.

The proposal is something that was brought up in the last Dai, but was regarded as an unpractical and regressive move by Labour and by Joan Burton as Minister for Social Protection in particular. Unfortunately, it seems now, with a new government in place there’s nobody looking out for the interests of vulnerable children.

Now that Labour is no longer in Government, it is incumbent on Minister for Children’s Affairs Katherine Zappone to step up to the plate and make sure that these proposals are consigned to the dustbin where they rightly belong.

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