Deputy Maurice Quinlivan
A LIMERICK TD has called for reform to the current statutory Child Maintenance Service in a bid to support lone-parent families nationwide.
Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan is calling to remove the adversarial system that currently exists and put in place a process that has the needs of children at its core.
Deputy Quinlivan’s comments came during a Dáil debate on a Sinn Féin motion calling for the establishment of a statutory Child Maintenance Service.
The Limerick City TD said: “The current system for lone-parents seeking child maintenance is wholly unacceptable.
“Forcing lone parents to ask a former partner for child maintenance, before they can receive social welfare support, puts people in an awful position, and often puts people in danger if they have left a violent partner, for example.
“The same occurs when a person is forced to bring a former partner to court, to try and get child maintenance,” he said, adding that this can create a hostile environment for the family.
TD Quinlivan continued: “We want to take child maintenance issues out of the courts service and put them 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.
“Our proposals are supported by the two lone-parent organisations in the state; One Family and SPARK. This state needs to do much better when it comes to supporting lone parents and their children.”