Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Employment Affairs & Social Protection Willie O’Dea TD says the government is continuing to fail lone parents. O’Dea made his comments on foot of a new report from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul which found that rate of in-work poverty among lone parents more than doubled between 2012 and 2017.

In 2012, 1-in-11 working lone parents were living below the poverty line, but by 2017 this had increased to 1-in-5.

Deputy O’Dea said, “The findings of this report are stark and clearly demonstrate that for many lone parents there is no recovery.  The living standards of lone parents in Ireland are among the worst in Europe and they have the second highest rates of income poverty, persistent poverty and severe deprivation among EU-15 peer countries. These are shameful statistics and in my view underscores the fact that Fine Gael is failing lone parents and their children.

“Fine Gael has been in government for 8 years and during that period introduced 5 regressive budgets and punitive policies which targeted lone parents, reducing their income and their living standards. The statistics released today vindicate our opposition to the changes to the One Parent Family Payment, which were brought in by the Fine Gael-Labour coalition.

“Under the Confidence and Supply arrangement Fianna Fáil has pushed for and secured fairer policies and while these will make a difference to lone parents, it is clear that significantly more needs to be done if lone parents are to have an acceptable standard of living.

“Lone parents are crippled by high living costs and low pay and are struggling to make ends meet. As a consequence their children are growing up in poverty and this is only serving to perpetuate the cycle of disadvantage.

“Fianna Fáil believes that significantly more needs to be done to assist lone parents. We want to see a more flexible social welfare system and labour market, which are more responsive to the needs of lone parents.

“There must be recognition that these are people who are parenting alone.  We need to see a more concerted effort from government; along with the rollout of more targeted policies to enable lone parents balance parenting and paid employment”.