Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection Willie O’Dea has said that the changes made to the One Parent Family Payment have inflicted severe hardship on many one parent families.

Deputy O’Dea said, “This month marks the anniversary of the implementation of changes to the One Parent Family Payment. The previous Government altered the eligibility for this payment to make it harder for parents to access this vital support. The then Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton proceeded with the damaging cutbacks despite warnings that it would have an adverse impact on children.

“The main impact of the change to the payment was to reduce the income of lone parents in employment. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul warned that this would “reduce the likelihood of lone parents who are not in employment, education or training to take up work or education in the near future”. It’s evident that lone parents are still suffering as a result of the punitive policies pursued by the previous Government.

“The latest available figures show that 59% of one parent households are experiencing material deprivation, whilst 22% of one parent households are experiencing consistent poverty. There is no recovery underway for these households. The stark reality is that Ireland is very much a two-tiered society with one parent households on the bottom rung of the ladder.

“Fianna Fáil will continue to oppose any reforms that represent a continuation of the harsh and regressive agenda pursued by the previous Government. We believe that one parent households and their children deserve better and we will hold the Government to account in this regard. There must be a recovery for all and not just for the privileged few”, concluded Deputy O’Dea.