Letterkenny candidate Siobhán McLaughlin has vowed that she will work to highlight and address the issues affecting lone parents, who the 2011 Census indicates are the heads of one in eight households in Donegal.
McLaughlin told Donegal Daily, “I have met many people who are raising children on their own, either because they are lone parents or because their spouse or partner has to be away from the home on a regular basis in order to work.
“Parents in these difficult situations are saying they feel marginalised and ignored, particularly in the wake of the economic downturn.
According to McLaughlin this is an especially serious issue in Donegal, where the number of both female and male lone parents is higher than the State average according to the 2011 Census.
She also stated it is important to remember that the census figures do not capture the many who are working away from home.
McLaughlin added, “As a mother who raised two children largely on my own, I am personally familiar with the issues confronting lone parents.
“If I am elected, I will make the issues of lone parents and people in complex parenting situations a focus of my work on the Council and I will be committed to help establish a lone parents’ network which would highlight the needs and issues.
“The high cost of childcare, which averages €16,500 per year for two children according to the Donegal County Childcare Committee, is hard enough for two parents to afford.
McLaughlin, pointed out, that the reality is that for lone parents such costs are prohibitive, meaning that they are effectively prevented from accessing paid employment or the education and training which could lead to paid employment.
McLaughlin concluded, “The barriers to work and education are fueling their sense isolation and increasing the risk of poverty for both parents and children. As a society we must work to ensure that child poverty is eradicated.
“It is vitally important for the health and well-being both of parents and of their children that Donegal County Council plays a constructive and meaningful role in addressing the issues which are affecting lone parents and people in complex parenting situations, and my work as a councillor would be fully committed to ensuring that this happens.Tags: