End Child Poverty

The early years of a child’s life are precious and set the foundation for success in life. There is only one chance to make the most of this formative stage and we have a duty to ensure that every child gets a good start.

Disgracefully, it is children who have borne the brunt of austerity and inequality. 130,000 children live in consistent poverty in Ireland, a figure which has doubled since 2008. One in 9 children have to go without basics such as proper food, adequate heating and warm clothes.

Poverty robs children of their potential. It’s time we put an end to this. All children deserve an equal chance in life.

A summary of our priorities in this area are as follows:

  • Set official all-of-Government target of ending Consistent Child Poverty by 2021 – led by An Taoiseach;
  • Within 6 months develop a New Anti-Poverty Strategy, with clear targets, timeframes and lines of responsibility, and with families as a key focus;
  • Replicate targeted area-based investment similar to the Young Ballymun programme in other disadvantaged areas to allow larger numbers of children to benefit from a programme with proven success in improving learning and well-being outcomes;
  • Provide free primary education to cover the costs of transport, books and classroom resources;
  • Subsidise childcare services for low income families and in disadvantaged areas, with some funding to make childcare more affordable where services are not viable. (see further childcare proposals in childcare section);
  • Invest heavily in early years supports such as speech and language, early childhood health clinics, parental leave, social work, childcare & public health nursing;
  • Extend the school meals programme on a priority basis to ensure that all children have access to nutritious food;
  • Increase spending on early years up to the OECD average;
  • Implement a range of programmes and initiatives of support to parents in the critical 0-3 stage of development, focusing on parental well-being and early infant development;
  • Poverty-proof all budgets and set against the targets of the new Anti-Poverty Strategy.

Find out more on our proposals in this area here.


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