Press Release | Budget 2018 will be a Litmus Test of Taoiseach’s Commitment to Lift 100,000 Children Out of Poverty

Press Release

Budget 2018 will be a litmus test of Taoiseach’s commitment to lift 100,000 children out of poverty

Dublin, 21st July 2017 Leading NGOs in Ireland have joined voices ahead of the annual Pre-Budget Forum taking place on Friday the 21st July to call on the Government to ensure Budget 2018 includes key provisions to tackle child poverty. Barnardos, Children’s Rights Alliance, National Youth Council of Ireland, One Family and the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul are deeply concerned that one in nine children remain in consistent poverty and believe not enough is being done to remedy this.

“We welcome that An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar has made a clear public commitment that lifting 100,000 children out of consistent poverty will be a priority for him. This Government target provides a clear goal to work towards and to track progress against. Budget 2018 presents an ideal opportunity for An Taoiseach to demonstrate his commitment to children.” said Tanya Ward, Chief Executive, Children’s Rights Alliance.

The group has compiled a report outlining a clear roadmap of practical solutions that would make a real positive difference in children’s lives. The group believe a combination of adequate income supports and investment in quality public services is central to reducing child poverty.

Karen Kiernan, CEO, One Family said “It is particularly important to understand where the poorest children in Ireland live and to provide targeted supports. Children living in one-parent families are 3.5 times more likely to be poor than children in two parent families, and these are families who have been hit hard by Budget cuts and reforms in recent years.”

Government investment in quality early years services makes good sense. Yet Ireland continues to seriously lag behind internationally in levels of investment.

Tanya Ward, CEO, Children’s Rights Alliance said “Poverty can destroy a child’s life. Making childcare affordable is a route out of poverty because it helps children to learn and supports parents to work. Budget 2018 must invest in childcare so families can better afford it, services can improve in quality, and every child can reach their potential – not be stuck in a poverty trap.”

Succeeding in education unlocks children’s potential and enables them to escape poverty. However, participation in the education system comes at cost that pushes many families into debt.

June Tinsley, Head of Advocacy, Barnardos said “Access to free primary education is a right for all children and it can be realised for as little as €103m per annum, just €185 per pupil. This would cover the costs of books, classroom resources, remove transport fees and voluntary contributions and raise the capitation rates back to 2010 levels.”

The housing crisis continues to escalate with nearly 2,800 homeless children, as well as those living in insecure, overcrowded and unsuitable accommodation.

Hazel O’Byrne, Head of Social Justice and Policy, St. Vincent de Paul commented “Access to secure, long-term accommodation is the solution for these families and that can best be provided through increased investment to build and acquire additional social housing.  Until this is available, flexibility to increase the rates of HAP and Rent Supplement can help to prevent further families becoming homeless.”

Having a long term approach to investing in services rather than annual Budgetary cycles will prove more beneficial in building a more sustainable equitable society for our children.

Mary Cunningham, Director of the National Youth Council of Ireland said “Progress on reducing child poverty rates requires long-term and strategic investment in services and supports. Increased investment in Budget 2018 in services, such the School Meals Programme and Youth Work, is crucial. Investment in these services will make a real difference in the lives of children and young people in the long-term.”

It is essential Budget 2018 shows clear political commitment and investment in implementing Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures and specifically actions that will reduce child poverty. Condemning 139,000 children to grow up in poverty is not a legacy to be proud of.


Notes to Editor:
Link to NGO Submission on Actions to Achieve Child Poverty Target (November 2016)

Consistent poverty: proportion of people from those with an income below a certain threshold (less than 60% of median income / €230 per week), who are deprived of two or more goods or services considered essential for a basic standard of living (e.g. a warm waterproof overcoat, an adequately warm home) .

Barnardos: June Tinsley, Head of Advocacy:  087 9955076
Children’s Rights Alliance: Tanya Ward, CEO: 087 6531069
National Youth Council of Ireland: Mary Cunningham, Director: 087 2385977
One Family: Karen Kiernan, CEO, 086 8509191
Society of Saint Vincent de Paul: Hazel O’Byrne, Head of Social Justice and Policy: 085 8010308

Lone Parents Forced Out of Workforce – One Family Supports New St Vincent De Paul Report

Press Release

Government Claims to Have Protected ‘Most Vulnerable’

yet One-Parent Families are Poorer When Working 

One Family supports today’s St Vincent De Paul report findings 

(Dublin, Monday 22 September 2014) One Family – Ireland’s organisation for one-parent families and people sharing parenting – welcomes the St  Vincent De Paul report published today which recognises that being a lone parent is one of the hardest survival situations in the State. One Family’s 42 years of experience delivering expert services to those parenting alone and sharing parenting helps to strengthen the SVP message.

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO explains: “The devastating impact of Budget 2012 means that those parenting alone have been living a financially precarious life.  Today’s child and family poverty statistics highlight the inconvenient truths for Government; that maintaining the value of social security support helps protect families with children from poverty, and that work isn’t working for far too many families. The government may claim to have protected the ‘most vulnerable’ but there are thousands of lone parents and their children living in desperate circumstances. We must move on from attacking those parenting alone to addressing real needs.”

Stuart Duffin, One Family Director of Policy & Programmes, highlights: “The stark evidence we collate on an on-going basis – from callers to our national askonefamily helpline and responses to our monthly survey – illustrate unequivocally that survival for our families in low-paid or no employment is balanced on a knife edge. This is because the support they get from the State is continuing to decline in real terms, while the barriers to returning to the workplace remain insurmountable for so many. If items such as food, social housing and childcare continue to become more expensive, these families’ overall incomes cannot keep up.”

Lone parents are being forced out of employment. One Family has heard from working lone parents who, with the changes being implemented from Budget 2012, have had a net income reduction of €200 per week. The ongoing reduction of the income disregard – the amount a lone parent in receipt of the One-Parent Family Payment can earn without a reduction in supports as they transition into employment – from €146.50 to €60 per week is working against Government policy. This reduction means that it is no longer financially viable for many to work which is the opposite of what Government claimed to set out to do – support lone parents into employment.  Although 53% of lone parents are in the labour force, one-parent families remain those statistically most at risk of poverty.  This cannot be justified.

Stuart Duffin further comments: “This isn’t just about balancing the high cost of housing, childcare and energy: it includes a family’s need to be part of society, by being able to participate in things many take for granted, such as buying a small birthday present or taking the children swimming on occasion. Government needs to square-up to in-work poverty. ”

One Family’s 10 Solutions to Government address this as a matter of urgency. Research shows that a key contributor to children’s futures is not the structure of their families but living in consistent poverty.  Current policies mean that Ireland risks seeing more poor children becoming poor adults. This is catastrophic for their life chances and the public purse.

Click here to read One Family’s monthly survey results. The St Vincent De Paul report can be read here.

One Family’s demands for Budget 2015 are:

  1. Work must pay and be seen to pay.
  2. The proposed parental dividend must work in conjunction with an up-rated income disregard.
  3. Those parenting alone must have equal access to all of the government activation measures, such as MOMENTUM and access to free part-time education to help raise their labour market skills base.
  4. Comprehensive provision and support for Out Of School Childcare and Recreation (OSCAR). Currently, the new child care provision (ASCCS) only lasts for 12 months, is not available for existing workers and does not take into account existing childcare relationships.
  5. The Single Person Child Carer Tax Credit discriminates against those sharing parenting – most often against Fathers, in effect – and thus must recognise the realities of contemporary Irish family life.


About One Family

One Family was founded in 1972 as Cherish and is Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families offering support, information and services to all members of all one-parent families, to those sharing parenting, to those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and to professionals working with one-parent families. Children are at the centre of One Family’s work and the organisation helps all the adults in their lives, including mums, dads, grandparents, step-parents, new partners and other siblings, offering a holistic model of specialist family support services. These services include the lo-call askonefamily national helpline on 1890 62 22 12, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. One Family also promotes Family Day and presents the Family Day Festival every May, an annual celebration of the diversity of families in Ireland today ( For further information, visit

Available for Interview

Karen Kiernan, CEO | t: 01 662 9212 or 086 850 9191

Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy & Programmes | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 062 2023