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 Header Item Child Poverty (Continued)
 Header Item Business of Dáil

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 938 No. 3

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Katherine Zappone: Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone] In recognition of the fact that child poverty is a multifaceted problem, the group includes officials from other Departments, including the Departments of Health and Education and Skills. Led by the Department of Social Protection, it has produced a paper which outlines a whole-of-Government approach to tackling child poverty. This is based around the three pillars outlined in the European Union's recommendation on investing in children, namely, access to adequate resources, access to affordable quality services and children's right to participate. The paper will come before the consortium of interdepartmental officials working on the issue in the near future.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan One of the areas on which the Minister and her colleague, the Minister for Social Protection, may have an influence is the changes the previous Government made to the one-parent allowance in 2012. At the time, many Opposition Deputies predicted that these changes, specifically the change in respect of payments to children when they reach seven years of age, would exacerbate rates of child poverty. This has been exemplified in the SILC report. In that regard, I welcome the Minister's comments on the establishment of an interdepartmental group. Are these matters being considered, including by the Minister for Social Protection? Will the fundamental issue of income be reconsidered? Some of the issues that frequently arise are savage rents that place one-parent families in danger of homelessness and the fundamental change that occurs when the child of a single parent in part-time work reaches seven years of age. The Minister is continuing with a policy change introduced by the austerity Governments that should be reversed.

Deputy Katherine Zappone: Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone We are fully committed to a whole-of-Government approach to reducing child poverty. We understand that addressing child poverty requires access to adequate resources and that this issue is related to income, specifically, as the Deputy noted, changes in household incomes. This is not the only way we are addressing child poverty. Other areas being addressed include access to affordable quality services and children's right to participate. My Department's role in providing access to affordable quality services for children includes heavy investment in the affordable child care scheme. A number of measures in the programme for Government are directed at lone parents.

On the issues the Deputy raised, the Minister for Social Protection is working on a new initiative on working family payments. It focuses specifically on reducing child poverty and ensuring greater access to employment, particularly for lone parents. This is where we hope to address some of the issues the Deputy has identified.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Deputy Anne Rabbitte has kindly agreed to forfeit the two minutes remaining to facilitate a proposed change to the business of the House.

Written Answers are published on the Oireachtas website.

Business of Dáil

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders or the Orders of the Dáil of today, that the Dáil shall sit later than 10 p.m. tonight and the sitting shall suspend on the conclusion of Oral Questions until 6 p.m., whereupon statements of clarification on statements by the Taoiseach and Ministers shall be taken and the following arrangements shall apply: the Taoiseach, Tánaiste, Minister for Health and Minister for Children and Youth Affairs shall each make a statement of ten minutes; following the Ministers' statements, each group has eight minutes in total for questions and answers, with each question and response thereto lasting for one minute; following the groups' questions, the questions shall be opened to the floor, with each question and response thereto lasting one minute, to be brought to a conclusion at 8.30 p.m. tonight, followed by Private Members' business for two hours; and in relation to tomorrow's business the Taoiseach shall make a statement for 15 minutes after the sos to be followed immediately by Private Members' business; Private Members' business shall be followed by a motion re confidence in the Government, to be brought to a conclusion at 10.15 p.m., and the following arrangements shall apply: the opening speech of a Minister or Minister of State and a representative of each group shall not exceed ten minutes in each case; the opening speeches shall be followed by 30 minutes to be divided between the Government, the Fianna Fáil Party and Sinn Féin on a 40-40-20 basis; the speech of each other Member called upon shall not exceed five minutes in each case; Members may share time; and a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a speech in reply which shall not exceed five minutes.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Is the Government's revised proposal agreed? Agreed.

  Sitting suspended at 5.35 p.m. and resumed at 6 p.m.


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