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Labour TD insists she wasn't suggesting parents bring their children to work

Joanna Tuffy’s comments were criticised by Twitter users and a Sinn Féin MEP.

Updated 5.05pm 

A LABOUR TD has insisted she was not suggesting parents bring their children to work after she was criticised for comments made on Twitter yesterday.

In the course of an exchange with Trinity economist Brian Lucey and others on the cut to the single-parent family payment, Joanna Tuffy made the point that some parents, including her, bring their children to work.

The Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan said Tuffy had “in true ‘Marie Antoinette’ style suggested parents bring their children to work with them”.

This afternoon, Tuffy told TheJournal.ie:

I never suggested parents should do anything. People can read the exchange for themselves on Twitter to see what was actually said.

The exchange began yesterday when Lucey said that a seven-year-old could not be left to their own devices and that the only option was expensive childcare if their parent goes out to work:

In response, Tuffy said she had brought her 10-year-old to Leinster House and suggested there were people in Trinity College Dublin who do the same:

But Lucey said this generally wasn’t the case:

While others took issue with Tuffy’s assertion that parents could bring their children to work:

Tuffy acknowledged that while some workplaces were unsuitable for children lots of parents did bring their kids to work in summer. But it didn’t cut it with some:

The Dublin Mid-West deputy insisted that the government’s overall aim was to improve the welfare system:

Under controversial changes implemented earlier this month single parents in receipt of welfare will be required to seek employment or training as soon as their youngest child turns seven.

Though other transitionary parents are available, as many as 10,000 single parents will see their income adversely affected, according to campaign groups.

Tuffy’s comments were criticised by Boylan, an MEP for Dublin, who said that it was “emblematic” of Labour being out of touch with “the reality of day to day life for many working parents in Ireland”.

“Joanna Tuffy in true ‘Marie Antoinette’ style suggested parents bring their children to work with them,” Boylan said.

Given the number of women who are struggling with precarious working conditions, having set hours or an extra four hours a week enabling them to schedule childcare would be a massive achievement, being allowed to bring their children to work or having on-site childcare facilities would be something they could only dream of.

She said that Tuffy should “stop trying to defend the indefensible” and instead focus on increasing the minimum wage and providing affordable childcare for parents

Read: Fine Gael TD says family subject to ‘vile comments’ after Dáil speech

Read: Joan Burton compared to Margaret Thatcher (again)

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Hugh O'Connell

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