Single parents in Limerick protest over cuts to allowance

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Lone parents staged a demonstration outside Limerick's social welfare office in Dominic Street this Wednesday. Picture: Michael Cowhey
SINGLE parents demonstrated outside the social welfare office in the city this Wednesday over plans to cut the lone parent allowance.

SINGLE parents demonstrated outside the social welfare office in the city this Wednesday over plans to cut the lone parent allowance.

While thousands of parents demonstrated outside Leinster House in Dublin against the cut, a smaller protest was held in Limerick by those unable to make the capital.

The proposals, due to be introduced on July 2, will see the maximum age lone parents can claim for a child drop from 17 to just seven years of age.

Lone parents will lose between €36.50 and €86 a week under the reforms.

More than 600 people signed a petition calling on the government to scrap the cuts.

And a small number of people showed their opposition on a sun-drenched Dominic Street this Wednesday.

Sinead Carroll, who is from Dooradoyle, but now lives in Newcastle West, says she stands to lose €65 a week.

“I have three children, and my youngest has just turned 11. I am working part-time in a family resource centre for the last 16 years part time. I will be down €65 a week which is huge. It is my mortgage really,” she said.

She said parents are unable to set the example of working to their children as a result of the impending cut.

“It is very hard to be a role model when all your efforts are for nothing,” she added, “These cuts are affecting parents who are working, particularly mothers in the majority of cases, and particularly mothers and parents who are back at college. I know a lot of people who are not going to be able to finish college courses because of these cuts.”

Janesboro woman Amanda Keane joined the protest - organised by the Single Parents Fighting for the Rights of Kids (SPARKS) groups - in Dublin.

Speaking from outside Leinster House, she said: “I have listened to the government talk about equality these last few months. They have praised themselves for achieving equality on May 22. I was glad to see it achieved that day, but Enda and co need to wake up and see that equality stretch out to lone parents and their children.”

Anti-Austerity Alliance councillor Cian Prendiville described the impending cut - being imposed by Social Protection Minister Joan Burton as “another broken promise from the Labour party, and another austerity measure which will drive children and lone parents into austerity”.

The northside councillor added: “It is a sign of the nature of this so-called recovery, which is an increase in profits and wealth for the super-rich, but more austerity for the working class people of this country.”

Around 20 people travelled in four car loads up to Dublin to join the national protest.

The Limerick solidarity protest was arranged by Amanda, as she felt many parents would not have the time, or means to travel to Dublin.