Harsh economic times must not lead government to treat children unequally
9 April 2009
The legal rights organisation FLAC today commented on recent budget announcements on child benefit by saying that if the rationale behind the proposed taxation or means testing of the payment is to ensure that those children most in need are looked after, then the government must ensure that it is children who are most in need who will receive the payment.
"Some of the most disadvantaged children living in Ireland have been refused this essential payment, which continues to have a detrimental effect on their development and wellbeing," said FLAC Director General Noeline Blackwell. These children include those living in direct provision and in some cases the children of migrant workers or other immigrants who might be living in Ireland for several years, but might still be excluded on the grounds that they are not seen as resident here.
Ms Blackwell continued: "It is important that the government, in implementing any changes which will impact on the lives of children, keep in mind the obligations that they have freely undertaken in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to 'respect and ensure' the human rights of all children living in Ireland without discrimination of any kind, including any discrimination based on their parents' status. The state is also under an obligation to consider the best interests of the child in all its undertakings."
Some parents already find it very difficult to manage on what little money they receive from the government so it is crucial that they are not excluded from any reform of the way in which Child Benefit will be administered in the future, according to FLAC which has campaigned for the last two years to ensure that all children in Ireland receive the payment.
You can also read about FLAC's campaign to restore universal child benefit.