Report on Child and Family Income Support published

The Report on Child and Family Income Support by the Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare was published yesterday and has caused considerable concern for parents across Ireland. The report, however, is an advisory report submitted to Government for consideration; Government has not agreed it. No decisions have been made on this and no timeline or plan on operationalisation has been put in place.

One Family will continue to advocate that Family Income Supplement (FIS) be changed from a ‘threshold’ benefit to one that tapers. Thresholds create poverty traps which are discriminatory and should be moved away from as part of a progressive social protection framework.

It was stated yesterday at the report launch that the computer systems of the Department of Social Protection and the Department of Revenue ‘talk to each other’ now and that they can identify 87% of claimants. This would make paying FIS as a taper and through the wage packet a good and efficient option.

Included in our pre-budget submission for 2012 was our recommendation to restructure Child Benefit to ensure that it is tailored to those most in need.

Click here to read the press release issued at the launch of the report, and here to download the report.

Below are links to some of the media coverage in response to the report:

The Irish Times | ‘No decision’ made on child benefit

Irish Examiner | Burton wants social welfare system that encourages people to work | It’s easy for ministers on high salaries to ignore the importance of child benefit

The Irish Times |  Prospect emerges of cutting child poverty while saving public funds

Ciara Conway, TD, launches Ten Solutions campaign in Leinster House

One Family launches its Ten Solutions for Smarter Futures for lone parents in Leinster House today

Media Release, 2 May 2012, At today’s launch of ‘One Family – Ten Solutions – Smarter Futures’ campaign, Ciara Conway, TD for Waterford and Vice Chairperson of the Oireachtas Committee on Health, Children and Youth Affairs said, ‘This campaign is a solutions focused approach to Budget 2012. It addresses ten challenges faced by lone parents, and gives us the first concrete steps to take towards delivering services which connect and empower them around education, work and independence. We acknowledge the challenges ahead but are prepared to tackle them and Minister Burton has the determination and will to succeed.’

‘Ten solutions – Smarter Futures’ outlines proposals that will enable Government to help reduce inequality and improve the wellbeing and life chances of those parenting alone. Stuart Duffin, Welfare to Work Manager at One Family, explains, ‘This goal towards a more equal State, where lone parents and their children are better equipped to succeed, has political consensus and increasing public support,’ he continues, ‘we recognise that budgets are strained, which is why we have come up with low-cost or cost-neutral solutions to improving the lives of one-parent families.’

Some of the suggestions in ‘Ten solutions – Smarter Futures’ include:

Flexibilities: lone parents who move to Jobseeker’s Allowance should only be required to work for 15 hours per week during school terms. This would help address many of the child protection concerns around seven year olds being left on their own. Flexibilities also take into account a lack of childcare or transport, having to cope with a child with a disability or with a separation or a bereavement, and so on.

Education and Training: development and promotion of a wide range of part-time, modular education and training from all public providers. A range of programmes need to start later and finish earlier to allow parents to look after their children.

Progression Opportunities: ensure equality of opportunities for lone parents in the work place. Permit One-Parent Family Payment recipients to participate in all activation programmes. Support the promotion and up-skilling of lone parents.

Stuart Duffin continues, ‘‘One Family – Ten Solutions – Smarter Futures’ helps to lay the foundations for a fairer, more equal society, by addressing some of the challenges faced by lone parents and their children. For thirty years, trickle-down economics have divided Ireland by yielding significant wealth for a few, but leaving others by the wayside. There is wide public support for a different way of organising our affairs – this is the Government’s opportunity to deliver on a undertaking that can radically change children’s lives – and to create a welfare to work system which empowers lone parents.’


For more information contact Hilary Fennell, Communications Manager, One Family, 01 6629212


One Family,Ten Solutions – cost neutral solutions to help lone parents back into work & education

Stuart Duffin, One Family, Welfare to Work Manager, was at the 66th Labour Party Conference in Galway over the weekend promoting One Family’s course of   action in response to Budget 2012.  All 750 copies of the paper, One Family – Ten Solutions – Smarter Futures were taken and read. One Family is advocating cost neutral administrative and management approaches which would facilitate those parenting alone back into work and education. There is overwhelming support for our stance on flexibilites; that is, that lone parents who transition to Jobseeker’s Allowance should not be required to be available for fulltime work but rather for 15 hours per week during school hours. This should mitigate many of the child protection concerns and parental caring responsibilities that have arisen around 7 year olds being left on their own. A series of flexibilities or exemptions are required as per the UK and many other countries to allow for a lack of childcare, lack of transport, a child with a disability, separation, bereavement, etc, This is a first step in a journey to ensure that lone parents and in particular children in lone parent families do not suffer disproportionally in the current economic climate.

See the full document here Ten Solutions

For more information on flexibilities for lone parents who are in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Look here

Here is some relevant Census 2011 data on Lone Parents in Ireland:

1 in 8 people in Ireland live in a one-parent family,  567,311 persons out of a general population of 4,588,252.

1 in 4 (25.8%) families with children in Ireland is a one-parent family, 215,315 lone parent families out of 834,266 families with children.

Over half a million people live in one-parent families in Ireland, 567,311 persons

13.5 per cent of one-parent families are headed by a father, 29,031 lone fathers as opposed to 186,284 lone mothers.

1 in 5 (21.7%) children live in a one-parent family,351,996 children in one-parent families, out of a national total of 1,625,975 children

One Family Director Karen Kiernan on RTE with Joan Burton

One Family Director Karen Kiernan was on RTE TV’s Frontline last night with Joan Burton TD. Karen was speaking up for lone parents and the Jobbridge programme set up by government last week. Karen got to make a few points about the activation of lone parnents, at 44 minutes in.

Minister Burton responds to Ciara Conway TD re One Family queries

Ciara Conway T.D. has kindly given us permission to share the following information. Following our meeting with Ciara and our two page budget analysis, she raised several issues about the budget cuts with Minister Burton. Minister Burton’s letter of response is enclosed here and this is One Family Director Karen Kiernan’s response to Ciara Conway:

Dear Ciara,

Many thanks for corresponding with Minister Burton on our behalf. Whilst the letter provides factual information and some of it is drawn from the letter that will shortly go to parents in relation to the One-Parent Family Payment unfortunately it is still not clear what the Department’s strategy is in this area, what policy and research this was based on and how they will ameliorate the poor education levels of parents, the lack of employment and the absolute dearth of afterschool care.

Regrettably it has become clear to me that these cuts were made without reference to policy or research but were simply a means of cutting the budget without touching the principal rates of social welfare payments. What is even more unfortunate is that so many of these cuts have fallen on the shoulders of the poorest families and children in Ireland. One Family and our members will continue to speak and advocate on these issues and we appreciate your assistance to date and we look forward to working with you in the future.

Best wishes, Karen

Meeting 14 Dec to oppose budget cuts to One Parent Family payment

There is a meeting being organised on Weds 14 Dec in the Central Hotel Dublin to oppose the cuts to the One Parent family payment, supported by many lone parent groups. The purpose is to organise all groups to unite together for one big march, and a continuous campaign until these cuts are reversed.

Update on our campaign to reverse budget cuts

Here is any update on what we’ve been doing – we have lobbied every TD and senator by phone or email and have managed to get meetings with Labour and FG politicians today to try and get changes to the proposed cuts. Senators are also raising questions for us today. We have also emailed thousands of supporters and other organisations asking for support to reverse some of the cuts. We are constantly in touch with Dept of Social Protection seeking clarification on dates and phasing in times. We can respond to any individual queries if anyone wants to call our helpline 1890622122. One Family is joining a protest tomorrow being organised by a group of enterprising lone parents and we encourage everyone to join us to show your support. 2-5pm outside the Dail Friday 9 Dec!/events/129422247170088/

Budget 2012 main social welfare changes and rates

Budget update – here are the main social welfare changes and rates of payment from the Dept of Social Protection. Thanks for all the comments and suggestions to get involved in a campaign. We’ll post more about that and our response to the cuts soon too.

Lots of media this week about one-parent families and One Family

Jamelia has made a wonderful documentary on Single Mums showing on BBC3, for air times see Our Director Karen Kiernan has been speaking about social welfare fraud and lone parents on TV3’s Ireland AM at in response to a very poor article in the Irish Daily Mail on the issue on Tuesday. Finally One Family was mentioned in the Irish Times where advice was being given to a separated woman who wants to get back to work, see more at

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Family Day is getting loads of media – are you ready to join us on Sunday?

Thanks to Bonnie Brady and Brian O’Connell for bigging up Family Day and the need for an acceptance of Family Diversity on TV3. 24 Mins in 11 May

And here’s a good piece from One Family Director Karen Kiernan on why Family Day is so important pg18/19 Metro Herald Hopefully you will have heard and seen all the publicity our wonderful media supporters Today FM and The Evening Herald are giving us. And the pieces in Irish Times and Sunday Independent and so on so far – thanks to all our supporters!