Fianna Fáil Employment Affairs & Social Protection Spokesperson Willie O’Dea is calling on TDs to support his Bill, which will allow the State to pursue child maintenance payments for lone parents.

The Social Welfare (Payment Order) (Amendment) Bill 2018 will close a loophole in the law which has allowed parents to dodge their child maintenance responsibilities following changes to the Lone Parents Allowance in 2012.

Deputy O’Dea explained, “The last Fine Gael-Labour government changed the payment system back in 2012; forcing parents to move from the Lone Parent Family Allowance to Jobseekers Transition once their youngest child turned seven. However, the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2015 which gives the State the right to demand a contribution, only refers to the Lone Parent Allowance.

“This amendment would extend that responsibility to other social welfare payments so that the State does not have to pick up the tab.

“I have raised this issue numerous times with Minister Regina Doherty but so far she has failed to move on it. I brought forward this piece of legislation almost two years ago and since then her government has continued to ignore the loophole, which is costing the taxpayer money.

“I am pleased that this Bill has been selected for debate and I am encouraging all TDs to support it so that it can be enacted as swiftly as possible and this legislative anomaly can be addressed once and for all”.