Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, has today launched her proposals for the establishment of a Child Maintenance Service (CMS) in the State.
The launch comes ahead of the Government’s response to the Child Maintenance Review Group report, which was due to be presented to Minister Humphreys last week.
Speaking at the launch today, Teachta Kerrane said:
“Today’s launch reiterates our long-standing call for a Child Maintenance Service which supports lone parents and their children to be established, as is in place in the North of Ireland.
“From our discussions with parents and representative organisations, we know that the current situation as regards seeking child maintenance in the State is costly, complex and time consuming for lone parents.
“The system is currently so ineffective that it actually deters lone parents from seeking child maintenance.
“This is an issue I have raised repeatedly in the Dáil and an issue my party has highlighted for many years.
“The report of the Child Maintenance Review group was due to be presented to the Minister by Easter, and she will be expected to make announcement on this issue over the coming weeks.
“It is clear that our child maintenance system is urgently in need of reform, which is why I am launching this proposal today.
“The proposal draws on our extensive work on this issue, and echoes calls from leading lone parent organisations, such as SPARK and One Family Ireland.
“We want to take child maintenance out of the courts and instead, see a statutory agency step in when it comes to the arrangement, calculation and payment of child maintenance rather than leaving it up to the lone parent alone.
“We know that child maintenance, where paid can play a key role in reducing child poverty, this is one reason why having a robust system in place is so important.
“I am now calling on Minister Humphreys to consider these proposals, in light of the report from the Child Maintenance Review Group, which I am confident will recommend such a service which I believe is long overdue.”