SPARK- single parents response to Minister Joan Burton’s speach in Dail

SPARK is a group of single parents who came together via social media sites to form a campaign group opposed to various cuts proposed in Budget 2012.

Lone parents from the SPARK campaign welcome that our hard work in our campaign, along with many other groups, has forced Minister Joan Burton and the Labour Party to acknowledge that a child home alone at age seven is too young. Minister Joan Burton announced last night in Dail Eireann that she would only proceed with measures to reduce the upper age limit to seven years on the One Parent Family Payment in the event that she gets credible and bankable commitment from the Government on the delivery of a childcare system similar to Scandinavian countries.

SPARK believes that this commitment from Joan Burton cannot be carried through, and is not credible unless the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2012 being presented for a vote to the Dail next Wednesday has Section 4 of the Bill removed. The reduction of the upper age limit to seven years will come into effect in 2015 if the Bill, in its current form, is passed. At that point, Joan Burton will no longer hold her position in office as Minister for Social Protection, and is under no obligation therefore to introduce nor progress the development of the a Scandinavian-like childcare system that she  claimed to aspire to when she spoke in the Dail last night.

A removal of Section 4 from the Social Welfare Bill would be welcomed by SPARK, but we do also wish to highlight that this is only one of the measures in Budget 2012 that will have serious implications for thousands of one parent families around the country. We say to the Labour Party and to Government: “One promise, one cut, one parents say “Not enough”. SPARK will continue to fight on all of these issues.

Single Mother Leah Speight says:  ”I have no doubt that, had there not been serious campaigning from ourselves and many other organisations who support single parents, there would have been no pressure on Labour to try and distance themselves from the heat of this disgraceful attack on one parent families. We now need action, with genuine political will for progressive reform, to defend the most vulnerable in society, not more empty words or promises’.’

For further comment, contact Leah Speight 0871390278, Louise Bayliss 0871954601, Laura Caffrey 0852254887, Grace Costigan 0862222103, Michelle Frawley 0863735113 (West) , Brid Ni Chualain 0876774751 (Gaeilge speaker)
Further information can be found at or email

Comments are closed.