Families and children hardest hit by Ireland’s austerity Budget 2012

Prime Minister Enda Kenny had warned of tough cuts in 'State of the Nation' address on Sunday

A family with four children will see a reduction in €432 ($581) per year after yesterday’s budget, with the introduction of the expected cuts to child benefit.

The government announced that payments for the first and second child in a family will remain the same, but cuts of €19 ($25) per month for the third child and €17 ($22) for the fourth and subsequent children will be implemented.

Child benefit is a payment given to parents or guardians of children under the age of 18 who are in full-time education.

The cutbacks are expected to generate savings of up to 45 million euro. Previous calls for the child-allowance scheme to be means-tested were not introduced.



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The back to school allowance for two and three-year-olds is also to be abolished, with an estimated saving of 30 million euro.

Despite the cutbacks, minister for social protection Joan Burton said Ireland remains strong on social welfare cuts.

“Even after the loss of our economic sovereignty, our core welfare rates remain generous by comparison with our nearest neighbours,” she said.


"I understand that these measures will have implications for some families but I must point out that families at risk of poverty will be more likely to benefit from supplementary child related payment such as child related increases to social welfare payments and the Family Income Supplement. Those payments remain unchanged," Burton added.