October 23, 2019
Government abstain on supporting lone parent families seeking maintenance – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Employment Affairs & Social Protection John Brady TD has strongly criticised the Governments’ decision to abstain on his party’s motion calling for the establishment of a statutory Child Maintenance Service, based on international best practice.

Speaking following the debate, Teachta Brady said:

“It is deeply disappointing that the Government have chosen to abstain on this Motion which had the full backing of both lead lone parent organisations One Family and SPARK.

“This motion was brought forward with sensible and well-thought out proposals on how best we can support sand assist lone parent families in seeking maintenance payments.

“Minister Finian McGrath, who stood in for Minister Doherty in her absence read a speech that has angered many lone parents, seemed more concerned with the lack of recognition for ‘the substantial work already done to support lone parents’ than the actual issue of maintenance. 

“Given that it is the Governments’ own policy decisions that have condemned so many lone parent families to poverty, Minister McGrath had some neck to make such a statement.

“The Government abstained because they believe that they are already doing the necessary work when it comes to tackling issues around child maintenance. Yet, up until September of this year, not once did Minister Doherty agree to examine the current process in place in order to seek maintenance.

“Minister Doherty has done nothing to date, to tackle issues faced by lone parents when it comes to maintenance. That is a fact.

“In relation to the funding announced as part of Budget 2020 for research into child maintenance, it appears to me that the purpose of this is to establish guidelines and not, a statutory service which is what is actually needed.

“Despite the Government abstaining on this motion, we had the necessary support to see the motion passed. We will now hold Minister Doherty to account on ensuring that the research she undertakes as part of the Budget 2020 commitment will include consultation with stakeholders and the establishment of a Child Maintenance Service. Anything less will be an insult to lone parent families.”

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