Tuesday, July 30, 2001
Ireland's single parent families
misrepresented on housing lists
A story published today by the Irish Independent reports that according to the National
Economic and Social Forum study, Ireland's single parent families are being trapped
on local authority housing lists and are now disproportionately represented among the
In some areas, up to 40 percent of the accommodation waiting list and those seeking
emergency beds on a night-by-night basis are lone parents, the report has found.
Accommodation has become the single greatest issue of concern for single parent
families, replacing child care, according to Frances Byrne, Manager of OPEN (One Parent
Fine Gael's Simon Coveney, another panel member, said lone parents families found it
very difficult to compete for housing against other families.
"In most cases, a family where there are two parents and children will get a house
before the lone parent family will," he said.
Mr. Coveney said he is arguing strongly for appropriate housing to be made available by
local authorities to reflect the demand. "The type of housing that suits lone parents
may be different from that which suits other families," he said.
Mr. Coveney said that in many cases, lone parents were "hidden homeless" as
they found beds in the homes of grandparents or other relatives.
The Fine Gael Deputy said he hoped the report would also result in changes to rules
surrounding the payment of lone parent's allowance which effectively inhibit such people
from developing relationships.
Once a single parent - and the vast majority of them are women - allows a partner to
move into the house, they are in danger of losing the payment, he said.
Byrne agreed that single parents often felt that the state was more interested in
ensuring they did not have a partner than in providing the supports they needed to access
work, education or training.