DP allowance rise for kids ‘only gesture of goodwill’
2016-01-15 16:12:44 -

By Chinedu Onyejelem


Children’s rights groups have urged the Government to improve the lives of children in direct provision by ensuring the recently recommended allowance rate is fully paid to them.

The call follows the Government’s announcement that it was adding just €6 to the Direct Provision Allowance – the first increase since the rate was set at €9.60 some 16 years ago.

In a statement, three leading children’s organisations – the Children’s Rights Alliance, Barnardos and the ISPCC – said that while any increase was welcome, they maintain that the Government’s move “falls far short of the recommended increase to €29.80” as recommended by the Working Group Report on the Protection Process in June 2015.

Tanya Ward, chief executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance and a member of the working group that recommended the new allowance, said she was “deeply upset to witness first-hand the poverty that children in direct provision must endure.

“This increase, which will barely cover the cost of a bottle of Calpol, can only be seen as a gesture of goodwill. Our welcome is given with a strict proviso that the full increase to their payment be secured in the short-term.”

June Tinsley, head of advocacy at Barnardos, added that it was “difficult to see the justification for such a paltry increase, less than a third of what the working group recommended and still far short of what they need.”

In addition, Tinsley reiterated her organisation’s call for the direct provision system to be abolished.

The organisations highlighted the efforts and support of some ministers, including Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald and Minister of State with responsibility for New Communities Aodhán Ó Ríordáin in making moves to improve the situation of direct provision residents.

But they stressed that the Government “must as a matter of urgency move on its own working group report recommendation.”

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