Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection, Willie O’Dea TD has expressed his concern at the revelation that clothing allowances for religious ceremonies will no longer be administered by the Department of Social Protection.
Deputy O’Dea commented: “This callous cut will place families under more pressure and they will now be forced to go to money lenders. The ‘Exceptional Needs Payment’ always covered communions and confirmations, so the Minister has decided that these are no longer deemed exceptional events which shows how out of touch this government has become.
“A child’s communion or confirmation is a pivotal moment in their life and there is a huge amount of pressure on parents to ensure their child has the required clothing for the occasion. Often this involves expensive clothes and parents just don’t have the money to provide. The ‘Exceptional Needs Payments’ is something that thousands of families throughout the country have come to depend upon to get them through this.
“The cut is going to ratchet up the pressure on already struggling families who just can’t afford to take any more cuts to their income. A recent survey by the Irish League of Credit Unions reveals that 1.6 million people in Ireland are left with €50 or less at the end of the month once the essential bills have been paid.
“I am appealing to Minister Joan Burton to urgently review this cut as the confirmation season approaches.”