International Women’s Day – March 8th
Equal pay, equal employment and educational opportunity, adequate social welfare support for widows, deserted wife’s and single mothers, children’s allowances then automatically paid to fathers were to be paid to mothers. These were among the demands of the Women’s Liberation Movement in the 1960s and ’70s. Over the decades advances were made which greatly improved the lives of women. It is unfortunate that much of what has been won is now reversed by the Fine Gael/ Labour government.
Adequate social welfare support for Lone Parents: Budget 2012 cuts payment of One Parent Family Payment once the youngest child reaches 7 years. This targets the most vulnerable women and children. 65% of the country’s poorest children live in one-parent families. Furthermore the previous budget had cut single parents’ income by 5% in vast contrast to higher income groups. Other measures include more stringent means testing and the loss of income from CE schemes.
Children’s Allowances: Budget 2012 cuts payment for 3 children from €167 to €140 by 2013 – a total cut of €27 or a loss of €324 per year. For 4 and subsequent children the cut reduces the payment from €177 to €140 by January 2013 – a cut of €37 or €444 a year.
Equal educational opportunity: Budget 2012 again targeted disadvantaged schools and even after Minister Quinn’s U turn 192 teachers will be lost from primary schools alone. Capitation grants reduced further will result in further inequality as better off areas can raise funds. Back to school allowance is cut by between €50 and €55 per child.
Equal pay and equal employment opportunities: Budget 2012 measures will result in many thousands of women forced through poverty to work for increasingly lower wages and in worse conditions. EU figures show that the gap between the earnings of men and women in Ireland is one of the highest in the EU
WHO DO THEY REPRESENT?TDs who made their names through equality issues are now sitting in government. In Dublin Mid West all 4 TDs supported these and other cuts to workers. They are: Minister Frances Fitzgerald (paid €169,275 plus expenses); Derek Keating (paid €92,672 plus expenses); Robert Dowds, (paid €92,672 plus expenses); and Joanna Tuffy (paid €92,672 plus expenses).