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Scandal of child poverty must be tackled head on

9 December, 2004


Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe has expressed concern at the revelation that once again this year 1,000 children have been seen begging on the streets of Dublin. Deputy Crowe said, "Although this represents a significant decrease on last year's figures, it is a scandal in this day and age that there are still 1,000 children begging on the streets of Dublin."

Speaking in Dublin this morning he said:

"In the last year 1,000 children were seen begging on the streets of the capital and, although this represents a significant decrease on last year's figures, it is a scandal that it continues at all in this day and age. The ISPCC have attributed most the decrease to the policy of criminalising parents who allow their children to beg.

"The policy is a short-term stopgap measure which ignores the bigger problem of child poverty. It is a outrage that up to 250,000 children in this state are living in poverty and that so many are living on the streets. The solution is not to sweep this problem under the carpet by hiding it from the public. The problem needs to be tackled head on.

"Yesterday we seen the closure of 6 of only 13 emergency beds that are supposed to cater for newly homeless children in the whole of Counties Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare. It is incredible that after a budget that has done nothing to tackle homelessness the Government now wants to cut the emergency bed supply by almost half.

"Sinn Féin have put forward a number of proposals that, if implemented would help to eradicate child poverty and bring about equality. The most fundamental right must be the right of equality for all. This means equal access to quality services such as education and health. To tackle poverty head on and to tackle the issue of children begging on the streets the Government needs to start tackling homelessness, supporting parents, investing in education and in programmes which will help to bring children back from the margins of society and give them a future."ENDS

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