Just as in Australia and the USA serve the voiceless in elections, so also the St. Vincent dePaul Society speaks out regarding Irish elections.
This year’s General Election, 100 years since the Rising, is a decisive opportunity to realise a fair, inclusive and sustained recovery. The 32nd Dáil needs to commit that, over the life of the Government, adequate income supports and good quality public services (housing, education and energy) are accessible to the people we assist, whether they are in employment on low pay or in receipt of social welfare.
- Ensure that every household and family in Ireland has an income which is adequate to meet their needs. This requires increasing social welfare payments, tackling the problem of low pay for those in work, and tackling the cost and availability of services
- Restore the earnings disregard for the One Parent Family Payment and Jobseekers Transition Payment to €146.50
- Increase child income support payments for older children, recognising the additional costs of having teenage children
- Fully implement the Social Housing Strategy 2020 to ensure it is delivering affordable, quality social housing for families with children; review delivery against 2016 waiting list figures.
- Improve security of tenure for tenants in the private rented sector. The sector requires reform if housing policy makers are to continue to rely on the private rented sector to meet social housing need.
Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) and After School Care:
- Deliver the promised single subsidised childcare scheme from 2017, replacing current targeted schemes, for pre-school and school going children with simplified eligibility, based on income.
- Increase investment in early years care and education from the current low base of 0.13% of GDP to the OECD average of 0.8%, over a series of budgets to create an affordable quality early years care and education sector.
- Widen the eligibility criteria and funding available for the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland’s (SEAI) Warmer Homes Scheme and Sustainable Energy Communities Programme to target low income households for energy efficiency improvements and to include the needs of occupants of the private rented sector.
- Undertake a regular National House Quality Survey to inform housing and energy policy.