Gilmore rules out prompt overhaul of child benefit payments
on 22/02/2013 00:00:00
The Mangan report said there should be a universal child benefit payment for all, with a top-up payment for those who need it most.
This method would save the exchequer €200m, and would increase payments for low-earning families.
A second option to tax child benefit could run into legal difficulties and is the least preferred option, it said.
Mr Gilmore yesterday ruled out any quick changes to the payment, which has been €130 per month for the first, second, and third child since December's budget.
Speaking during leaders' questions, the Labour leader said: "It needs a broad discussion... We have a report of an expert group that addresses the entire issue of child support in its widest sense. We will have a full discussion on it. There will be plenty of time for people to discuss it in a committee."
Ms Burton, speaking to Newstalk, refused to say when any reforms would be implemented, but she insisted that the payments helped keep some children out of poverty.
Despite cuts to child benefit in the budget, she said more funds were needed to enhance services for families.
"We need strong cash income support but we also need as a country to invest in childcare."
She said Finland had had a bank crash in the 1980s but had invested heavily in pre-school supports and education which overall had a better outcome for the economy.
Fianna Fáil said families could relax if changes to payments were not planned in the immediate future.
Limerick TD Willie O'Dea said: "The parents of middle Ireland, who are extremely worried about the contents of the report, can breathe a little easier now."
Ms Burton said this week that changes she had already made to child benefit had gained most of the savings she planned in the area.
The Mangan report says changes could include reducing universal payments to €25 a week per child, with a top up of €38, where households earn €25,000 a year or less.