Commenting on findings that show that deprivation among lone parents in Ireland is at a far higher rate than deprivation experienced by lone parents in the rest of the EU, Peadar Tóibín TD stated:

“Leo Varadkar has talked a lot about equality in the last few years. But where is the equality for those lone parents who experience massive material deprivation in Ireland? According to recent figures 17.9% of Irish lone parents experience deprivation compared to an average of 13.3% in other EU countries.

“Why does Leo Varadkar’s definition of equality not extend beyond the culture wars of the Donnybrook Wine Bar? Why does it not extend to mothers and fathers desperately struggling to raise their children in poverty?

“It is very clear that many families are locked out Leo Varadkar’s Ireland. Tens of thousands of families, most especially lone parent families are in poverty and are finding it a struggle to make ends meet.

“It is abundantly clear that many lone parents and their children have been left behind by the Fine Gael ideology.

“It is critical that these families have the supports necessary to raise their children at key cash pinch points such as the back to school period.

“The government must also tackle the financial stresses that make it so difficult to raise children in this situation. If this does not happen school completion becomes more difficult for many children and the pattern of poverty and deprivation continues for the next generation.

“The government must also ensure that fathers of children fulfil their financial responsibilities to their children and have fair access to their children.

As a people, our policies need to be fully child-focused.”