New figures show urgent need for new strategy on Child Poverty

February 1, 2017

The Social Democrats have called on the Taoiseach to lead a new Government strategy to eradicate child poverty in the current Dáil term.

Róisín Shortall of the Social Democrats said, “the latest figures released through the EU Survey on Income and Living Conditions show that 11.5% of children in Ireland were living in consistent poverty in Ireland in 2015. While the trend is slightly down on the previous year, it is completely unacceptable that one in nine children live in consistent poverty in modern Ireland.

It is a scandal that Irish people want fixed. And it’s the responsibility of the Taoiseach to fix it.

Worse still, these figures don’t necessarily cover the biggest indicator of deprivation in Ireland at the moment – the fact that over 2,500 children are living in emergency accommodation.

On current trends, the Government has no chance of reaching its own target of lifting 97,000 children out of poverty by 2020.

There is absolutely no cohesion about the Government’s plan. Those working at the front-line, such as the ABC programmes, often don’t know from year to year if their programme will be extended for another year. Either the Government is committed to a strategy or not – a year-by-year approach will never work.

The Social Democrats believe that child poverty should be given the highest priority by Government. We are calling for Government to set itself the target of eradicating child poverty completely by the end of this Dáil term in 2021. It is eminently achievable.

It will require a multi-annual programme of investment in services such as social work, public health nursing, allied health professionals, social care workers, school meals, the DEIS programme and free primary schooling. That requires each Minister pulling his/her weight and signed up to an all-of-Government strategy.

The repercussions for these children and their families and society itself will be felt for generations to come. It’s time this scandal ended.”


1st February 2017