A review of an EU rule which requires the Irish State to pay child benefit to parents who work here but leave their children in their home countries may help the State save money, a newly elected Galway East Labour TD said this week.
Welcoming the announcement of the review by Social Protection Minister Joan Burton, Colm Keaveney said there was a significant amount of money involved.
“At a time when the public coffers are under huge pressure it makes sense to go through all the figures with a finetooth comb to see what savings can be made and I believe that this is one of those areas.
“Of course all families living here should be able to avail of all the supports they need, but sending tens of millions of euro abroad every year makes no sense when the State cannot afford it.
“Child Benefits rates here in Ireland are significantly higher than in other member states but many of those other countries have far better services available to children such as pre-school and child care, the cost of which is met in full or in part, by the State.
“Child benefit payments rates should be calculated on the basis of the cost of living where the child actually resides rather than on where the parent might be based.
“There is a significant amount of money involved and we should taking whatever measures we can to make sure it is being spent to the benefit of children here.
“This area is governed by EU law, but I agree with Joan Burton that it is worth examining, and I will be urging her to raise this at European level.”