The Iona Institute, an Irish ‘think-tank’, has issued a statement to the effect that the Irish government’s ‘Four-year Plan’ to bring about economic recovery will target stay-at-home mothers. The Institute maintains that the Plan will ‘penalise one-income married families compared with single people’; and that ‘married couples where one stays at home to look after children will pay more tax than single people without dependents.’ This, says the Institute, is ‘in line with the policy of the IMF, the European Commission and the OECD which believes a woman’s place is in the workforce and a child’s place is in day-care.’
These last-mentioned institutions, the Institute maintains, ‘see no role in society for couples who believe children are best served by one parent staying at home to care for them, or indeed for an elderly relative.’
Facts and figures are given relating to the implementation of the ‘Four-year Plan’. These are very revealing, and indicate that the Plan is ‘very much part and parcel of the tax individualisation philosophy which favours double-income married couples over one-income married couples, but it actually goes further.’
The Iona Institute statement continues:
‘The reason it goes further is that a single person is very unlikely to have dependent children whereas a married couple, whether one or two-income will most likely have dependent children.
‘Therefore, the Government is saying that a single person with no dependents should pay less tax than a one-income married couple with a dependent spouse and dependent children. This is scarcely believable.
‘Earlier this week it was revealed that a new IMF report wants Ireland to introduce a new tax-break of five percent for mothers who re-enter the workforce. Stay-at-home mothers have no place in its vision of society and it sees no value in looking after young children at home
‘This dovetails perfectly with the philosophy in this regard of both the European Commission and the OECD.
‘The new four-year plan appears to be doing their bidding and so the attack on stay-at-home married women has intensified further.’
Bunreacht na hÉireann (the Constitution of Ireland) gives special attention to the institution of the family, and under a specific section (Article 41)– The Family – it declares that:
1.1 - The State recognises the Family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law.
1.2 - The State, therefore, guarantees to protect the Family in its constitution and authority, as the necessary basis of social order and as indispensable to the welfare of the Nation and the State.
2.1 - In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.
2.2 - The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.
3.1 - The State pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of Marriage, on which the Family is founded, and to protect it against attack.
In pushing its ‘Four-year Plan’, then, the Government could very well be reneging on its obligations as laid down in the Constitution. This is also an area in which the UN CEDAW Committee has been for many years now trying to attack and destroy the family.