Report connecting lack of affordable childcare and paramilitary exploitation another reminder of how organisations prey on vulnerable, says Kate Nicholl MLA

A Westminster report which shows how the cost of living crisis is leaving more people vulnerable to exploitation by paramilitaries is another reminder of how such organisations prey on the most vulnerable, Alliance MLA Kate Nicholl has said.

Kate Nicholl Childcare

Amongst other issues, the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee report on the effect of organised crime and paramilitary activity on society here highlights how many families, particularly single mothers, are more vulnerable to paramilitary groups engaging in illegal money lending practices.

“During a protracted cost of living crisis, childcare is simply not affordable for many households,” said Ms Nicholl, Alliance’s Early Years and Childcare spokesperson.

“In addition to a range of other pressures, the cost of childcare is forcing some families into an increasingly precarious financial position with limited options for support. As this new report outlines, people are then being left increasingly vulnerable to the lure of money lending from paramilitary organisations.

“This report is another reminder of how paramilitary organisations seek to prey on the most vulnerable people in our society and exploit people’s desire to provide the basics for themselves and their family.

“It is totally and completely reprehensible and underscores the need for an incoming Executive to prioritise both the total and complete removal of the scourge of paramilitarism from our communities, and delivery of the long-awaited childcare strategy. 

“The report starkly outlines the cost of not investing in our childcare system and the impact a lack of support for childcare costs is having on our society. Investing in a world-class early education and childcare system is crucial if we are to give children in Northern Ireland the best start in life and deliver better outcomes for everyone in our society.”