Cut to Maternity Benefit 'anti-women and anti-family'
on 16/10/2013 08:30:18
Maternity benefit is been standardised at €230 per week - which means most women will see their benefit cut by €32 per week.
It is the second year in a row that maternity benefit has been targetted in the budget after last year it became taxable.
The National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI) says cutting the benefit will force women to go back to work early, increase their childcare costs and is not in the interest of mothers or their babies.
"When you are expecting a child you have got a whole series of new costs and we feel it was completely unnecessary for the Government to do this," said NWCI director Orla O'Connor.
"In our last budget they took away the tax-free element of maternity (benefit).
"So this is another attack on mothers at a particularly difficult time… and it was totally unnecessary."
Meanwhile a coalition of youth groups is holding a demonstration outside the Dáil in Dublin later in protest at the cut to social welfare payments for under- 26s.
They claim the cuts will force more young workers to leave the country, or take poorly paid jobs.
Ronan Burtenshaw of the campaign group "We're Not Leaving" says the Government is just making life more difficult for young people.
"There's already a crisis (among) young people in this country and the Government have decided that rather than doing something to make that crisis better, rather than doing something to put young people into work, to give them a chance to get education or to do something to improve their lives - the Government has decided to give them another kick when they are already down."