The Social Democrats today launched their policy on children, families, and work/life balance – ‘A New Deal for Parents; Getting it right for children, for families’.  Party spokesperson on Children, Wicklow Cllr and GE candidate Jennifer Whitmore – a working mother of four and Dublin West Candidate Aengus Ó Maoláin Social Democrats GE candidate for Dublin West who has been vocal about the struggles facing young couples trying to start a family life and finding themselves locked out of many of the choices previous generations enjoyed will be joined by Party-co-leader Róisín Shortall.  

The party says Ireland currently does very little to support parents and they want to see parents and children put at the heart of all policy formation – a move they say will improve society for all including those who don’t have children themselves.

Jennifer Whitmore said “that by ensuring every child gets a strong foundation and a positive childhood, society ultimately benefits and that is evidenced by  the child first approach in Nordic countries such as  Sweden.”

The party successfully passed its Bill to extend unpaid parental leave in the last Dáil and says it plans to build on this start to go much further in introducing measures to help make life easier for families.

Jennifer Whitmore added:

“As a working mother of four young children, I am acutely aware of the issues facing families trying to juggle everything. The stress it causes, the constant fear and often guilt, at not being able to cover everything.  Parents want and need more time to spend with their families and for that reason a right to flexible working options is a must. But it’s not just parents. Grandparents, extended family members and those without children are all very much family members in their own right and are entitled to find a balance between work and a fulfilling life outside of work. A society which encourages that balance is a society with a healthier and happier population and we know the benefits that brings to both society and economy.”

Aengus Ó Maoláin said:

“I find myself as a newly married young man in my early 30’s in a situation where buying a home is getting further from my reach, where myself and my wife are forced to spend significant portions of our day commuting through a chaotic traffic and an under-resourced public transport system, looking at exorbitant childcare fees, and wondering – how do we ever manage to create the kind of ordinary life that our parents before us did?”

Róisín Shortall, party co-leader said “there was still a long way to go in Ireland to prioritise children and their families. She pointed to the shameful rates of child poverty and said that this needs to be eliminated as a matter of urgency with a specific deadline of ending child poverty in the early part of this decade.She said this was possible through a series of targeted measures including area-based investment, increased investment in social care and other front-line workers and the introduction of a new Early Years Payment for all parents of young children.

23rd January 2020

The policy document ‘A New Deal For Parents’ is available here.
The Party has 20 candidates running in the General Election

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