Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection Willie O’Dea has said the Government proposal to link Child Benefit to school attendance is short sighted and should be reconsidered.
Deputy O’Dea said, “The proposal to link Child Benefit to school attendance undermines the fundamental principle of the payment. Child Benefit is a universal payment which is in place to help families with the cost of raising children. It’s particularly crucial for low income families. This punitive proposal will push already hard-pressed families further into poverty and social exclusion.
“This proposal is applying a simplistic approach that will do little to address the root causes of absenteeism from schools. Fianna Fáil will not support such a proposal, or the continuation of harsh and regressive policies which were the hallmark of the last Government.
“The Programme for Government states that this new Government wants to build a ‘just and fair society’. If they want to remain true to their word and honour this commitment then they need to ensure that they concentrate on investing in early intervention and removing barriers to education. Supporting parents and their children should be the priority for this Government instead of attempting to punish them.”