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One-parent families struggling during pandemic - Barnardos

Single parents were paid €533 million in social welfare last year.

It is an increase of €22 million on 2018.

The One-Parent Family Payment is given to men and women who are bringing up children without their partner's support.

The maximum weekly payment is €203 with a small amount extra for each child but the scheme is means-tested.

Last year 39,533 parents collected the payment - up nearly 300 on the year before.

They got a total of €533 million - up 4% on 2018.

Nearly 14,000 lone parents in Dublin got payments last year, followed by 3,700 in Cork.

Ten other counties also had more than 1,000 recipients including Louth, Wicklow and Kerry.

Suzanne Connolly, chief executive of children's charity Barnardos, says the Covid-19 crisis is very difficult for single parents.

"A lot of lone parents have lost their jobs so it is a really stressful time and we would welcome an increase in financial support in the next government budget," said Ms Connolly.

"One-parent families in general are struggling because the restrictions place a lot of stress on them because they don't have the benefit of having a partner who can share some of the burden."

Ms Connolly said there needs to be a recognition that lone parents need specific types of services.

"Barnardos would provide some of these for them. For example, we would do some shopping for them.

"We have been delivering food parcels to them to alleviate some of the financial pressure. We have been making some hot meals.

"People can feel quite lonely and feel very, very isolated."