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Increasing levels of child poverty must be tackled – McDonald

20 September, 2012 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD


Speaking during this morning’s leaders questions in the Dáil Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD welcomed the publication of proposed wording of the constitutional amendment on Children and called on the Tánaiste to deliver a strategy to tackle increasing levels of child poverty. The Dublin TD also called on the Labour leader to make a commitment to child proof December’s budget.

Deputy McDonald said:

“Publication of the proposed wording for the children’s referendum is without doubt a significant step towards enshrining children’s right in the Constitution.

“However the reality of life for many children in this state is a world away from the aspirations in the proposed constitutional amendment.

“Over 100,000 of our children live in poverty. This number has increased in recent years as a result of the austerity policies of this Government and its predecessors in Fianna Fáil.

“If Labour and Fine Gael are serious about making the best interests of the child paramount then they need to produce a strategy to end child poverty.

“Fine Gael and Labour need to give a commitment that there will be no measures in December's Budget which will place more children in poverty.

“Children’s charity Barnardos has warned that further cuts to social welfare and public services will lead to further hardship and greater incidences of poverty and deprivation for children.

“The Children’s Referendum is welcome but fine words alone will not put food in the stomachs of our most vulnerable children. Sinn Féin has today called on the Government to put its money where its mouth is on child poverty and make a commitment to child proof December's Budget.” ENDS

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Mary Lou McDonald and Cathal King