Following the publication of a report on food poverty in Ireland, Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has called on the government to take urgent action to address the issue.
Senator Cullinane said:
“It is appalling that one in ten people in Ireland – or around 457,000 children, women and men are experiencing food poverty.
“The report from the Mandate and Unite Trade Unions clearly shows that while food poverty fell between 2004 and 2007, it has steadily increased since 2010 in the wake of a succession of austerity budgets.
“The most recent data from the ESRI bears this out and shows that the poor, the unemployed, the vulnerable, and those in low paid and contract type employment bore the brunt of the Government’s cost cutting initiatives.
“There is clearly a direct link between low pay, unemployment and cuts to social welfare transfers, and people’s ability to provide food for themselves and their families.
“It is not acceptable that a section of our population is going to bed hungry.
“A state that cannot feed its own people is a failed state.
“Enda Kenny’s muted triumphalism during his ‘State of the Nation’ address last evening and the relentless Fine Gael media spin means little to people who depend on soup kitchens and penny dinners for their basic survival.
“Food poverty is a function of low incomes. In order to address it the Government will require a targeted and focused strategy to boost the incomes of low earners and the working poor and those dependent on social protection.
“It is just not acceptable that people should have to depend on soup kitchens for food – this is 2013 and not 1845.
“Government policy created this situation. I am calling on Fine Gael and Labour to immediately rectify it.”