Sinn Féin EU candidate for Ireland South Liadh Ní Riada has described the latest OECD report as a damning indictment of the Government’s austerity agenda.
The report entitled “Society at a Glance “highlighted how 1 in 10 people in this state now say that they cannot afford to buy food. The report also underlines that cuts made in the areas of health, education and social protection will have detrimental consequences for the state in the long term.
Ni Riada said:
“The content of the report is a damning indictment of the austerity policies being implemented by this Government. It also an indictment of the consensus for cuts formed by Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil since the onset of the economic crisis.
“It is shameful that anybody in this country should go hungry. The fact that this figure has more than doubled over five years should give the purveyors and advocates of austerity serious pause for thought. Unfortunately, I don’t think that will happen given that the establishment parties have governed only on behalf of the wealthy.
“Is it any wonder that the number of people accessing soup kitchens across the state quadrupled in just eight months last year? The fact is that many people have been pushed into food poverty by the policies of this Government and Fianna Fáil before them.
“I get a great sense that, rather than being represented, citizens now feel victimised by their government. I think it is criminal that one in ten people now say that they cannot afford to buy food.
“This frightening situation has developed on the watch of Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil. They cannot hide from that reality and they should answer for it.”
Speaking in relation to the reports critique of cuts to social infrastructure, Ms Ní Riada said:
“Those parties who approve of paying billions to prop up toxic banks often use the justification that those banks are of systemic importance to the functioning of the state.
“Our education, health and social protection services are of systemic importance. However, funding for these vital services has been cut time and again as part of a political scramble to insulate the elites in Irish society.
“The austerity agenda of this Government has persecuted ordinary people and has left them feeling downtrodden. This has to change and the sooner the better.”