Sinn Féin spokesperson for Employment Affairs & Social Protection John Brady TD will introduce a Dáil motion calling for the establishment of a Child Maintenance Service this evening.
Speaking this morning, Teachta Brady said:
“This evening, as part of Sinn Féin’s campaign for the establishment of a Child Maintenance Service, our Dáil motion on this issue will be debated.
“I welcomed Minister Regina Doherty’s recent comments which indicated that she intended to change the current process of seeking maintenance payments through the courts.
“However, an allocation of funding announced in Budget 2020 to research child maintenance to establish guidelines which in the Minister’s own words will ‘hopefully’ be put on a statutory footing falls far short of what is required.
“Single parents are obliged to seek maintenance in order to qualify for the One Parent Family Payment and Jobseekers Transitional Payment and in many cases, this leaves them with no other option than to take their former partner to court.
“This puts lone parents in a very difficult position as well as the process being very daunting and time-consuming. After going through the court process, there is no guarantee that maintenance will actually be paid.
“We need to take child maintenance out of the courts service and into a statutory child maintenance service that will for the first time, support and assist lone parent families. This service will also play a key role in reducing conflict among families and as has been proven in other countries – including in England – will help to reduce child poverty.
“I am calling on all parties and none to support the motion before the Dáil this evening to ensure that this State does better for lone parent mothers and fathers and their children.”