Renua have unveiled their policy proposals to support pregnant women and single mothers which they say should be enacted whatever the result of referendum on Friday.
According to Renua’s Sligo/Leitrim candidate Finbarr Filan, these radical policies would provide much greater support to women going through crisis pregnancies and coping with raising a young child.
Among the headline proposals outlined by Renua are:
A new statutory body to manage child maintenance agreements and payments
Removing the need to apply for court orders for maintenance payments.
Extra funding for single parents attending third level education.
Special six month period of Housing Assistance Payments for single parents after completing education to provide secure housing while securing employment.
Wider access to free and subsidised childcare for single parents.
Provision of separate accommodation on third level campuses for single parents.
Establishment of ‘temporary guardianship’ system which would enable young mothers to place their children in the care of a close relative while they finish their education, seek stable employment or access appropriate housing.
Free childcare in all third level education institutions.
Childcare facilities in all workplaces with over 250 employees
The policies are heavily aimed at cracking down on so called ‘deadbeat dads’ and ensuring that young, single mothers have access to third level education.
Commenting on the proposals, the Mr Filan said: ‘’At Renua we strongly believe in the need to support mothers, especially young mothers going through tough times alone.
“Throughout this campaign, much has been said about greater supports for women as an alternative to abortion. We feel that it is a good time to lay out what these supports should look like and we encourage the Government to pay attention.
‘’Much of the current supports out there for single parents focus on supports for the child. This is obviously a good thing, but more supports should be focused specifically on the parent and helping them.’’
And, on the proposals which aim to crack down on ‘deadbeat dads’, Mr Filan added: ‘’one of the main problems many young mothers have is that they get no support from the father, either during the pregnancy, after the pregnancy, or both.
“We are calling for the establishment of a single state body which has the power to ensure that fair maintenance payments are made by the absent parent. This will remove the need for young mothers to hire a solicitor and get a court order for payments, which is often an extremely daunting and complicated process.’’
He continued: ‘’what we are trying to achieve with these proposals is to help single mothers access third level education and enable them to get on in their careers.
“I certainly think that our proposals are radical and very forward-thinking. The idea is to create a positive environment for young mothers and pregnant women and give them the tools they need to provide a better life for themselves and their children.’’
Mr Filan concluded: ‘’many people in this campaign have mentioned the word ‘compassion’. Our proposals will go a long way to making Ireland a compassionate and loving place for young women experiencing a frightening and often lonely period of their lives by showing them that it is possible to live a full, satisfying and successful life with their child.’’