Derek Keating has caused outrage with his comments during a social welfare debate where he called for end to payments to women who had children with multiple fathers. He claimed knowledge of women with 3 and 4 children with multiple fathers, and said it was morally and socially wrong for the state to fund services for these women. These comments by Deputy Keating and more is recorded in Oireachtas debate on December 12th. This was in relation to a debate over cuts to respite grants to carers.
Cllr Gino Kenny of People Before Profit Alliance said “Gossip from the gutter is the only words to describe Derek Keating’s comments. As an elected representative, I witness regularly the hardship faced by many single mothers trying to provide for their children. The CSO SILC report from the EU shows that one-parent families in Ireland suffer from the highest depravation, and are the poorest sector in Irish society, poorer than the disabled, pensioners and any other group. It is therefore not surprising for me to see at a local level the effects of poverty traps to lone parents. There is no doubt in my mind as a local elected representative that Derek Keating as a very public representative in Leinster House is aware of the poverty amongst lone parents and their children, both locally and nationally. Playing one vulnerable sector against another to justify cuts is sinking to a new low in politics. False stigmatization of any sector of society is discrimination, and must be condemned. Derek Keating should retract his comments and apologize. Our government only recently called on the public to vote in a children’s rights campaign. With 65% of the poorest children in Ireland living in one-parent households I urge local government representatives to condemn Deputy Keating’s discrimination of the parent’s raring children alone.”
Leah Speight of SPARK (Single Parents Acting for the Rights of our Kids) campaign said “As a single mother in Derek Keating’s constituency I am deeply offended by his comments. One of the hardest battle single mothers have to fight is discrimination. Ireland’s history on its treatment to single mothers is shameful, and in the past has breached basic human rights. This was allowed because of a conservative Catholic view imposed on society. Unfortunately today discrimination still exists, and it is not acceptable from a political representative. Rightly so as a society we don’t tolerate racism, sexism or discrimination against minority groups such as travelers. False stigmatization is discrimination, and is usually done so on a claim that a raring child alone is a lifestyle choice. Been a single parent is a situation many women find themselves in for many different reasons; it is not a lifestyle choice. There is no factual base for Derek Keating’s comments; he is talking about a minority of a minority. Derek Keating disgustingly stereotyped in an offensive manner to reflect away from his participation of unjust cuts to Carers. Local single mothers and parents in SPARK campaign will not rest until he publicly apologizes. We will not let him forget this, and will follow any means necessary until we hear a retraction and an apology from him.”