Thursday, 14 April 2011
Frances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Children; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)
This is an extremely serious issue that brings huge pressure on many families. Many families face serious debt. The best way of protecting these families and the best way out of poverty is to create employment. Employment is the great protector. I point the Deputy towards the priority the programme for Government gives to providing access to employment, training and upskilling. Providing child care services will form part of this. Certainly the jobs initiative which the Taoiseach yesterday and the Tánaiste today said would be introduced in the House in May will be a key factor in tackling the issue of poverty and helping families facing debt. We also need initiatives from other agencies, including the banks and local support services. Earlier I replied to a question on the availability of community supports. The Government's commitment to building such supports and services will be very important in terms of the work it can do with families experiencing particular problems with debt.