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welfare love Fine Gael councillor defends calling children's allowance a subsidy for people 'to have sex'

Cllr McManus said that his comment was “evocative” and a “figure of speech” to highlight his point.

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Councillor David McManus

Councillor David McManus

Councillor David McManus

A Fine Gael councillor has defended comments in which he said that giving high-earning families child benefit payments is like a “subsidy for them to have sex.”

South Dublin County Councillor David McManus originally made the remark on a podcast for the Tallaght Echo newspaper.

But speaking on Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Cllr McManus said that his comment was “evocative” and a “figure of speech” to highlight his point.

Mr McManus, who is the deputy mayor of SDCC, believes that child benefit welfare payments should be means-tested and is against wealthy families receiving the income.

He said: “It may cause offence, but that was not my intention. If I didn’t put it that way, we probably wouldn’t be having this discussion.

“I believe it’s a valid point that welfare payments should be going to those who really, really need it.”

Child benefit is currently available to the parents or guardians of all children under the age of 16 - as welll as for children under 18 if the child is in full-time education.

The universal payment currently stands at €140 per month for each child, and Councillor McManus believes that this is an “essential benefit” for many low-income families.

However, he said that the payment should “be targeted at those who really need it” instead of higher income families who may not need additional monetary help.

In particular, McManus said that he would like to see the money going towards disadvantaged schools.

He argued: “These comments are unpopular - I accept that. The reality is the books have to balance, and the bills have to be paid.

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“There are two schools in my area… the two schools are next door to each other, but one is not getting the hot meals programme as the programme is oversubscribed.

“I want all DEIS schools to get the resources they need - but to be very, very straight about it, I don’t believe wealthy families should be getting child benefit.”

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