Sinn Féin EU candidate for Ireland South Liadh Ní Riada has called on all those seeking election to the European Parliament to place the fight against poverty at the top of the political agenda. She made the call following a meeting with European Anti Poverty Network Ireland in Limerick.
Ní Riada said:
“I would like to see all those seeking to represent the Irish people in European Parliament committing to the fight for social progress clauses to be inserted into EU treaties. Placing social rights ahead of the freedom of markets is crucial in pushing back against poverty.”
“Over 750.000 people are living in poverty in Ireland. We cannot sweep the scourge of poverty under the carpet especially when you consider that 220, 411 of our children still live with deprivation.
“The fact that the portion of the population living in consistent poverty has risen by 83% shows the reality of austerity policies for communities. We are told by the government parties that we are in recovery yet food banks being set up across the country to feed an estimated 600,000 people. We know that 90,000 families are still languishing on housing waiting lists.
“Poverty is a multi-faceted problem. It is a human made problem. So we can find the solutions. But that takes political will and a real commitment to going into institutions, such as the European Parliament, to fight for social and economic justice and to develop and champion initiatives centred on ending disadvantage.”
Ms Ní Riada said that she was calling on candidates in this month’s European Election to commit to working to enhance protections for the most vulnerable.
“We need representatives in the EU institutions who will also champion the idea of poverty proofing budgets and legislation.
“The central issue here is that the erosion of the social elements of EU policy has been taking place more than ten years now.
“Smaller, peripheral states such as Ireland are bearing the brunt of that in terms of increasing poverty and unemployment.
“EU policy needs to be reoriented to focus on reducing poverty and way from benefiting the very wealthy and large corporations. There is no silver bullet. This must be done in a holistic fashion and with a political will to campaign for EU policies that will improve our social and physical infrastructure.”