“Weetabix is a treat”

Podcast: http://t.co/rhmiB6QK The impact of cutting Children’s Benefit

I’m blogging this from my phone so excuse me for being brief but my fingers are just too big to be typing at any great length.

I met three unremarkable yet absolutely remarkable people today. Unremarkable because they are like many of the 92,000 people receiving the One Parent Family payment or living very similar lives to some of the other 470,000 on the live register.

Remarkable because they  . . . well just listen to Jacqueline Kelleher in the Drivetime podcast. She spends her son James’s entire Children’s Benefit on childcare so she can work part time. A €10 cut in that Benefit means it is no longer worth her while financially to work. But she will continue to work and will cut back the food budget.

We walked around the supermarket figuring out what she was going to cut back on from now on. “Milk” was the depressing answer. How do you tell your four year old son he can’t have a glass of milk? “He’s a smart boy, he understands things are hard”. He also understands that Weetabix is a treat that he only gets on months when there’s a little bit more wriggle room in the household budget.

The text and twitter response to this report was noteworthy. “Irritating” to listen to dole scroungers “whining”, said one. Giving these people Child Benefit was like “rubbing lard onto a fat pigs backside”. I said noteworthy, but not worthy of further comment. Jacqueline told me if you got pregnant to claim benefits it wouldn’t be more than a few months before you realised that you had made the “worst decision of your life”.

James would love a Batman Castle for Christmas. His remarkable mum is going to make him one instead.

Please listen to the podcast and tune in tomorrow to hear Aisling.


Filed under Drivetime, Economics, Politics, Society, Unemployment, Welfare

7 responses to ““Weetabix is a treat”

  1. Walls

    How can people listen to that and dismiss what they hear? What material did it contain that would allow that?

  2. It was a powerful piece.

    I missed the twitter response but I did see that lard and pigs comment. I must have misread it but I thought it was in relation to the FG TDs and their €3k dry-cleaning bills being picked up by the taxpayer.

    How depressing that some people on twitter are so divorced from reality and so lacking in sympathy that they would attack a parent struggling to provide for a child.


  3. Martina O'Byrne

    I think Jacqueline said that her son misses out on the free preschool year (ECCE) because she works afternoons and thus need childcare in the afternoons. Many childcare provides have ECCE classes in the afternoons. She can get details from her local County Childcare Committee.

  4. Johnny King

    I listened to the piece on Drivetime yesterday evening and felt physically sick afterwards. To think we have come to a stage where weetabix is a treat…..I’m still in depression.

  5. Frances Byrne

    Jacqueline & Aisling are two of our programme participants here at OPEN. Our lovely staff team has now offered to do a mini-fundraising drive to get James his Batman present. It’s €59.99 which is not a huge amount to most families. They hope to get a fiver from 12 people. Will keep you posted, Frances
    http://www.oneparent.ie http://www.facebook.com/weareOPEN Twitter:@OPEN_Ireland

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