Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has spoken of her disgust at the growing number of children who are living in poverty as a result of the financial crisis.
The Dublin MEP made the comments in the wake of 2 reports recently published from UNICEF and Oxfam.
Ms Boylan stated:
"Two reports published this week have shown that children are suffering the most in our society as the wealthiest were protected from the consequences of the financial crisis."
"The UNICEF report shows that there has been a 50% increase in child poverty rates in Ireland as a result of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gaels austerity policies during the financial crisis. The result is that 130,000 more children are living in poverty than were five years ago.
"This is a damning indictment of the consequences of austerity policies which have been enthusiastically pursued by the current and previous Irish Governments"
"Children growing up in poverty will be denied the same opportunities for success in school and in life as their peers, while cuts to child and family benefits means those who are in most need are being hit the hardest.
Meanwhile a report published by the charity Oxfam yesterday shows that the number of billionaires globally has doubled during the financial crisis.
"The conclusion we can draw from these two reports is that many governments, including our own, have prioritized protecting the wealthiest people during the crisis at the expense of the most impoverished.
"This practice is not only cruel and unfair but can actually have disastrous consequences both socially and economically.
"I hope that our government and others in Europe will pay heed to the findings of these reports and finally take action to confront poverty and growing inequality in our society".