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  • Southside

Budget will do little for children in Dún Laoghaire

Tuesday, 24th October, 2017 1:00pm
Budget will do little for children in Dún Laoghaire

An aerial view of Dún Laoghaire. Photo taken from ‘Dublin: The View from Above’ by Dennis Horgan

Budget will do little for children in Dún Laoghaire

An aerial view of Dún Laoghaire. Photo taken from ‘Dublin: The View from Above’ by Dennis Horgan

CHILDREN’s charity Barnardos has revealed how Budget 2018 will impact on families living in Dún Laoghaire Rathdown.

While acknowledging that the Budget has resulted in some small gains for families in Dún Laoghaire, such as funding for frontline health services and investment in housing supports, the charity says it fails to provide real solutions for the major of challenges facing children today. 

In a hard-hitting statement, it accuses the Government of not delivering on promises of a new era of politics and says Budget 2018 “lacks vision and ambition”. 

“In an effort to appease everyone it fails to create genuine opportunities or build solid foundations for children to thrive,” the charity stated

 June Tinsley, Barnardos Head of Advocacy, explained: “There are some small improvements for children and families in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown: roughly 6,000 children aged three and four will benefit from the now guaranteed two free pre-school years. Thousands of lone parents on social welfare across the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Borough will benefit from a €20 increase in the earning disregard, meaning they can earn up to €130 per week before it affects their One Parent Family Payment should they return to work.” 

She added: “But the measures introduced in Budget 2018 will not go far enough to overcome the disadvantage that families we work with experience. The increase in HAP funding is welcome, but it will not help a family who cannot even get an opportunity to view private rented accommodation. With nearly 1,700 households with children on the social housing list in Dún Laoghaire Rathdown, this remains a concern. 

“There has been no relief for school costs for the families of almost 20,000 primary school children in Dún Laoghaire Rathdown. The investment in frontline health services will hopefully translate into a reduction in waiting lists for children’s health services, but this remains to be seen. There are 230 children in Dún Laoghaire waiting for an initial assessment or further treatment in the area of speech and language therapy alone.”

 Fergus Finlay, Barnardos CEO, said that while some of the Budget announcements will make a minor difference to families, ultimately the Government missed an opportunity to show its commitment to children. 

He said: “The Taoiseach entered his post promising to create a culture of aspiration, a republic of opportunity, to support every child to be the best they can be, but his Government has failed to follow through with action in Budget 2018.

 “The reductions in the rates of USC and increases in the standard rate tax band amount to a miniscule increase in take home pay for workers - roughly €4 per week, at a cost of over €330million to the State. These funds would be far better invested in services and could have cleared waiting lists, ensuring rapid access to health services, provide a genuinely free primary education system and significantly increase investment in early childhood care and education giving all children the best possible start in life.”

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