Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Equality Dara Calleary TD has criticised the fact that mothers will bear a disproportionate burden following the decisions made by Government in today’s budget announcement.


Senator Calleary commented, “Today’s announcement of reductions in child benefit, pensions, one parent family and rent allowance mean that mothers will bear a disproportionate burden in this budget.  Brendan Howlin’s decisions will have a major impact on hard pressed mothers struggling to make ends meet and keep their families afloat. They will feel the hit in several areas.


“Child benefit is one of the only formal recognitions of the pivotal role of parents and particularly mothers in households. The standardisation of child benefit rate for the third and subsequent children over the next two years will hurt. For example a five child family will lose €100 a month.


“One Parent Families are at a higher risk of poverty and are primarily mothers. Cutbacks here in the age level from 14 to 7 by 2014 leaves these individuals under real pressure. This is further compounded by the change in income eligibility that will mean these mothers cannot work part time without jeopardising their supports, condemning them to a welfare trap. How are children supposed to learn the value of work if the state punishes their mothers for pursuing it?


“Rent Allowance is being reduced and the contribution by tenants increased, further penalising those mothers trying to make ends meet while waiting for the government to tackle the local authority housing waiting list which they promised in the Programme for Government. These are very often one parent families.


“Women are also disproportionately affected by the change in pensions for those who have not made 48 contributions. This will impact most upon women who have left the workplace to work in the home and who will now be penalised.


“Whether it is deliberate or not, there is a clear gender imbalance in this budget.  This is made all the more galling when seen in conjunction with the Programme for Government’s platitudes around gender equality: “we are committed to ensuring the rights of women and men to equality of treatment and to participate fully in society”.


“Like so many broken promises by the government, their decisions are in stark contrast to their rhetoric.”