Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection, Willie O’Dea TD, has called on the Taoiseach to reaffirm his view that child benefit must not be cut and to do so would amount to “cruel exploitation” of families.

“The Taoiseach made the comments in the Dáil, four weeks before the 2009 budget and he made it abundantly clear that child benefit should not be touched in any way, shape or form,” said Deputy O’Dea.

“At the time, the Taoiseach said I want the Taoiseach to know that it is my choice and our choice that we can achieve the savings that are required, and the reductions and adjustments to be made without touching child benefit. I want to be absolutely clear on that’.

“The Taoiseach also said at the time that reducing the child benefit rates would amount of ‘cruel exploitation of families’, does he share the same view now?

“Today we have seen another Government Minister come out in support of a two-tiered child welfare system while there have also been noises from Labour also offering support for this. Is this the Government position now? 

“Families are genuinely worried at the prospect of as much as 30% of their child welfare payment being cut and they need reassurance that the Government will not consider this. The promise was unequivocal we need clarity on this immediately.”