31 May 2007 Edition

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Restoration of child benefit must be priority for next government

At the Annual General Meeting of the European Anti Poverty Network (Ireland) in Dublin last week, delegates voted unanimously to support the campaign to restore universal child benefit in Ireland, launched by the network of Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) in November.
EAPN Ireland is a network of over 150 organisations and individuals in Ireland fighting against poverty and social exclusion. It is the Irish national network of the European Anti Poverty Network (EAPN), organised in 22 countries and is.
Robin Hanan, Co-ordinator of the EAPN said: “About 4,000 children living in Ireland are being driven into poverty by the Government’s decision in May 2004 to introduce the Habitual Residency Requirement. This makes payment of Child Benefit in Ireland conditional, creating a serious inequality between children living in this state.
“The FLAC campaign, supported by a range of organisations including the ICTU, the Irish Refugee Council and the Immigrant Council of Ireland, is worthy of the widest possible support.
“Restoration of this payment would only cost the state approximately €12 million but the benefits for thousands of families would be incalculable.
“While this is an issue of particular importance to the families of immigrants and asylum seekers most directly affected, any attempt to undermine the universality of benefits like this constitutes a serious danger. This is a campaign that must be fought, and must be won.
“We call on the incoming Government, whatever shape it might take, to make this issue a priority.”
EAPN can be contacted online at www.eapn.ie

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