Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection Willie O’Dea TD has said that as Ireland stops to rightly recognise the importance and impact of mothers on Mother’s Day, lone parents still face significant yet surmountable barriers to full social inclusion

“Thankfully, the high levels of systematic discrimination once faced by single mothers is no longer as prevalent. However, their ability to enjoy the benefits of full socio-economic inclusion is being stymied by inflexible practices and rules.
“Lone parent households, who are mainly headed by women, still suffer from significantly higher levels of poverty and social exclusion when compared to two parent households.

“The facts speak for themselves; one parent households have over three times the consistent poverty levels of two parent households with one in four lone parent households identified as being in consistent poverty according the latest SILC (Survey on Income and Living Conditions) report.

“In terms of deprivation, it’s clear that lone parent households bear the brunt with nearly six in 10 lone parent households being found to be deprived compared to one in four for two parent households.

“The language and rhetoric used when speaking about long parents may have improved in Ireland but the reality is that many lone parent households are living on the margins of society and subject to poverty and social exclusion.

“The type and structure of family has changed a lot over the past forty years, and is evolving to this very day.

“Men are no longer the only people who can head family units, but our systems and services have failed to catch up with the pace of societal change, and are inadequate to deal with the uniqueness of modern family life in the 21st century.

“We need to develop and improve our systems to ensure that they are flexible and responsive to the needs of modern families.

“A society where equality of opportunity is not a utopian ideal but a lived reality for all families, including those headed by lone parents, must be central to our ambitions.

“Addressing in a comprehensive manner the very real barriers that lone parents face to full social inclusion and treating all parents as equal irrespective of their family type would be a good place to start, and be the best gift we can give mothers this Mother’s Day” concluded O’Dea.