Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Budget for Children’s Rights

A North Wexford primary school teacher and spokesperson for local Sinn Féin has accused the government parties of picking and choosing when to talk about children’s rights.  Fionntán O’ Súilleabháin said that proposed cuts to children’s benefit and the governments continued failure to protect the education system showed that Fine Gaels mantra that ‘every child matters’ clearly doesn’t apply on Budget day.

Mr O’ Súilleabháin said;

“It's estimated that over 200,000 children are living below the poverty line in this state today.  One in five children have gone to bed hungry, victims of the austerity measures unleashed on this nation by Fianna Fail, and continued with gusto by the Fine Gael/Labour coalition.”

“During the campaign for the Children’s Referendum Fine Gael and Labour put up hundreds of posters around this county urging people to vote yes for children’s rights.  Fine Gael placed their slogan, ‘Every child matters’, on their posters.  Clearly this mantra doesn’t apply on Budget day as they prepare to inflict more hardship on Irish children.”

“In our alternative budget document, Sinn Féin is proposing a number of measures that will benefit children and will also benefit their under pressure families by alleviating the pressure on parents.  We would provide free school books to every child at a cost of €45 million.  The state already provides €15 million per year in grants so this would take the total to €60 million, equal to the estimated annual average spend on books.”

“Last year the government cut €32 million from the earnings disregard of the one parent family payment, which saw it reduced to €130 per week for 2012, with further cuts planned.  This cut makes going to work financially unviable for lone parents.  Sinn Féin would reverse this cut.”

“A government report earlier this year indicated that 21% of school children are now forced to go to school without breakfast.  In these trying times we believe that the state should take on greater responsibility to help these children by doubling the budget for the school meals programme to €70 million.”

“Our budget document has been costed and is a very real alternative to the policies of austerity favoured by the Austerity Troika of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour.  By asking those who can afford to pay more to do so, we can protect the most vulnerable citizens in the state, lift the local economy and get people back to work.  Full details of our alternative vision for Budget 2013 can be read at”

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