CHILD BENEFIT CLAIMS SOAR; Non-nationals rise by 400pc.
CHILD benefit applications from non-nationals with children living in their home countries soared in the past year, it emerged yesterday.
During 2005 applications doubled from 40 per week to 80, but in the first two months of this year they doubled again to 170.
That is a rise of more than 400 per cent in just 12 months.
The majority of the applications are made by workers from new EU member states - mainly Poland.
Immigrant workers have become more aware of their entitlements since Fine Gael high-lighted their right to claim the Government's EUR1,000 childcare supplement.
Fine Gael's David Stanton claimed the party supported the childcare benefits but not the supplement.
He said: "We still believe, however, that it is ridiculous the EUR1,000 payment, which is supposed to cover the high costs of Irish childcare, is being paid to children who don't even live here."
The supplement was announced in December's Budget and is meant for children under six to help parents meet the high cost of childcare in Ireland.
Under EU regulations parents from any union state working in another member country are entitled to that state's benefits even though their children may not be resident there.
Ireland's allowance is worth EUR141.60 per month per child and will rise to EUR150 next month.
The same benefit in Poland is worth EUR11 per month.