Published date: 
26 Nov 2009



Joint appeal to be launched by PACUB, OPEN, One Family, Children’s Rights Alliance and National Women’s Council of Ireland

This Thursday, 26th of November 2009, a unique joint appeal will strongly oppose any cuts or changes to child benefit in Budget 2010.  Five groups have come together for the first time to represent all elements of family life in Ireland, and say to Minister for Social and Family Affairs Mary Hanafin T.D that child benefit must not be cut in the up-coming Budget.

OPEN, One Family, PACUB (Protest Against Child Unfriendly Budget), the Children’s Rights Alliance and the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) have come together in the lead-up to the Budget to highlight the issue.

All five groups agree that any cut or changes to child benefit will have a serious negative impact on the lives of families throughout the country, at a time when families are already struggling to survive.  The importance of this joint appeal is that it represents the various strands of family life in Ireland, from the perspective of the child, the mother, the parent, the lone parent.

Speaking ahead of the press conference, Director of OPEN, Frances Byrne states: that 'A cut to child benefit would significantly increase already unacceptably high rates of child poverty in Ireland affecting 10% of all children and a significantly higher number in one-parent families. Such a cut if introduced must be compensated for by a significant increase in targeted payments to children living in poverty’ or below:

Candy Murphy, Policy and Campaigns Manager, One Family states: ‘Child benefit is a vital support for lone parents trying to balance their caring and work roles and helps to offset the many poverty traps that make accessing decent work so difficult for many such parents.’

With the abolition of the Early Childcare Supplement, child benefit is now the only remaining state support given to all families as a contribution towards the cost of rearing children. Speaking on behalf of PACUB Treasa Dovander, says: “More than 95% of parents surveyed this month said that child benefit was an ‘important’ or ‘crucial’ part of their household income. It helps working parents towards the cost of childcare or after-school care, and over 50% of women in our survey said a cut might force them to leave work.  At the same time, child benefit recognises and values the work of parents caring for children at home.  Child benefit also provides a guaranteed return on investment - unlike other expenditure - as studies show that early investment in our children will be reaped many times over by Irish society when that child becomes a tax payer.”

Jillian van Turnhout of the Children’s Rights Alliance, states ‘Child Benefit is the only payment in the country that is paid on behalf of nearly every single child.  Its universality is a clear statement that a country cherishes all of the children in Ireland equally.  Child Benefit is a regular, reliable and easy to access payment that every family is entitled to, without stigma.  It should not be up for grabs.  Taxing or means-testing it would demonstrate blind short-termism that is impractical, costly and will ultimately fail to make any savings’.

The NWCI strongly believes that Child Benefit should remain at current levels because women need child benefit now more than ever to pay for all of the costs in relation children. NWCI Head of Policy, Orla O’Connor, states’ Child Benefit needs to remain as a universal payment paid to the mother for all children, as it is the only payment made to women in Ireland.  It is particularly important for parents to pay childcare costs, which according to the CPI this week have continued to increase in 2008.

The group wishes to highlight at the press conference this week that over 1 million children and their families in Ireland will be adversely affected by any potential changes or cuts to the child benefit payment.  They state that the government should think long and hard about this before any decisions in relation to child benefit are made for Budget 2010.


Contact/Information: Ciara O’Shea, NWCI Communications Officer,
087 993 7663 / (01) 87 87 248

Editor’s Notes:
Frances Byrne, Director, OPEN – 086 814 3297
Candy Murphy, Policy & Campaigns Manager, One Family – 087 293 3180
Treasa Dovander, Spokesperson, PACUB - 085 109 6399 or protest4childbenefit@gmail.com
Maria Corbett, Policy Director , Children’s Rights Alliance – 087 770 2845
Orla O’Connor, Head of Policy, NWCI – 087 648 3516

Date:   Thursday, 26th November, 2009
Venue: Buswells Hotel, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2
Time:   11am
Details of Organisations:

  1. OPEN is the national network of community-based lone parent groups.  The organisation provides a range of development programmes and represents one-parent families in social partnership and elsewhere.  OPEN was established in 1994; member groups now support between 10,000-15,000 one-parent families per year.  The organisation is led by a Board made up exclusively of lone parents. Website: www.oneparent.ie
  2. One Family is working to ensure a positive and equal future for all members of all one-parent families in Ireland – changing attitudes, services, policies and lives. Together with one-parent families and those working with them, One Family is committed to achieving equality and respect for all families. In addition to striving for fundamental structural change, One Family support individual one-parent families as they parent through times of family, work and life change, and those experiencing a crisis pregnancy. One Family knows that every family is unique, and so we work in a family centred way to bring about better lives for parents and children. Website: www.onefamily.ie
  3. PACUB (Protest Against Child Unfriendly Budget) was set up in April 2009 to provide a voice for parents and concerned citizens who felt families were unfairly targeted by budget cutbacks such as the abolishment of the Early Childcare Supplement and proposals to slash child benefit. Since its introduction in the 1940s, child benefit has survived hard times and at least one recession. PACUB contends that any cuts to child benefit represent a value shift for Irish children and will set a precedent for subsequent budgets. Over 16,000 people signed on-line and paper petitions calling on Brian Cowen to leave child benefit alone. The signatures were presented to An Taoiseach at Leinster House on Wednesday 21st October. PACUB was founded by a voluntary group of parents and more information can be found at http://www.childbenefit.info or via Facebook search: PACUB.
  4. The Children's Rights Alliance is a coalition of over 90 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working to secure the rights and needs of children in Ireland, by campaigning for the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It aims to improve the lives of all children under 18, through securing the necessary changes in Ireland's laws, policies and services.  Website: www.childrensrights.ie
  5. The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) is the representative organisation of women in Ireland, with a membership totalling up to half a million women around the country.  The Central purpose of the National Women's Council of Ireland is to promote women's rights and women's equality. Website: www.nwci.ie

Ciara O'Shea
Communications Officer

9 Marlborough Court
Marlborough Street
Dublin 1
Direct Line - 01 - 88 98 473
Mobile: 087 993 7663
(T) - 01 - 87 87 248

PACUB, OPEN, One Family, Children’s Rights Alliance and National Women’s Council of Ireland