Fine Gael Calls For Extension Of Child Benefit

Child benefit should be extended to include all Leaving Cert students, Fine Gael's Pat O'Neill announced.

The Carlow/Kilkenny Senator said that the current age limit of 18 is "unfair and divisive".

"Currently the Child Benefit payment officially stops at age 16 and continues up to age 18 for any child in full time schooling. On the basis of this education principle, there is no reason why the extension shouldn’t also apply to school students who have entered their 19th year," Senator O'Neill said.

He added: "The 18 year cut off point is extremely detrimental to families who are struggling financially, particularly one parent families.

"The fact is that the Leaving Cert year is one of the toughest financial years for any family. In many schools there is a different uniform to be bought for 6th year students. The text books for the Leaving Cert are incredibly expensive. Parents have to pay for mock exams, the Leaving Cert exam itself and the application to the CAO. Many students also feel under pressure to do grinds during 6th year to supplement their studies, and these extra classes add further burden to what is already an incredibly expensive year.

"The number of 19 year old school students is fairly small in the grand scheme of things. Accordingly, the benefits to the families of extending this payment will far outweigh the cost to the State.

"I call on the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, to extend the Child Benefit to ensure that the cut-off point is age 18 and/or up to completion of the Leaving Cert. It is the only way to ensure complete equity for all school students no matter what time of the year they were born."


Related Irish News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

02 October 2012
Child Benefit Cuts Should Be Considered
Child benefit cuts should be considered by the Dáil, according to the Agricultural Minister. Simon Coveney said the issue had not yet been discussed at Cabinet, but that it would have to discussed and decided upon in time, in the run-up to the Budget.
18 August 2011
'Take Pride' In Leaving Cert, Says Quinn
Ireland's Leaving Cert students should be 'rightly proud' of their achievements. The Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn has sent his congratulations to the country's 57, 532 Leaving Certificate students who are receiving their examination results today. "All of you should be rightly proud of your achievements.
15 August 2012
Leaving Cert Students Urged To 'Celebrate Sensibly'
As Leaving Cert students receive their results today they have been urged to celebrate responsibly. A number of events for Leaving Cert students will be held in pubs and nightclubs around the country, although a percentage of students are still under the legal drinking age.
08 June 2011
USI Calls For Reassurance For Leaving Cert Students
The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has extended its well wishes to Leaving Cert students on the beginning of their exams today. Approximately 60,000 Leaving Certificate candidates will begin their exams, taking the next step towards their future careers.
09 May 2012
€17,000 Extra Allowances For Parents With Disabled Children
The Social Protection Minister, Joan Burton, announced last night that parents of disabled children will get almost €17,000 per year in additional care allowance payments. The new household benefit package will include a carer's allowance and free TV licence, electricity allowance and phone allowance.