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Child Poverty Inquiry in Derry

23 October, 2007

Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has said that the powerful Assembly scrutiny committee for the Office of the first Minister and Deputy first Minister will be in Derry tomorrow (Wednesday October 24th) to take evidence as part of a wide-ranging inquiry into child poverty.

Venue - Magee University, Derry 2.00pm

Ms Anderson commented:

"The Committee of the Office of the first Minister and Deputy first Minister (OFM/DFM) will be in Derry as part of an Assembly Inquiry into Child Poverty.

"Those of us living in this city are well aware of the devastating effect that poverty has on many families and as the only local MLA on the committee, I am happy they are coming to Derry to hear about that impact first-hand.

"The Inquiry is part of the Executive's stated aim of eradicating child poverty here by 2020 and I welcome that commitment.

"Some 124,000 children across the North are living in poverty and that has a dreadful impact particularly in cities like Derry.

"Statistics produced by the Chief Medical Officer in June 2007 show that the infant mortality rate in the most deprived areas is 33% higher than the average in the North and that children born into poverty are four times more likely to die before the age of 20 than those born into more-affluent families.

"The rate of teenage pregnancy is much higher in areas of greatest social and economic deprivation. In the most deprived areas, seven out of every 1,000 girls aged 13 to 16 will give birth: in other areas, the figure will be two out of every 1,000. Teenage mothers and their babies face a much higher risk of infant mortality, low birth weight and post-natal depression.

"Clearly, that is an unacceptable situation.

"The Child Poverty Inquiry is an important step towards addressing this issue and OFM/DFM will be consulting widely over the coming months as they develop a strategy to tackle child poverty. I would urge everyone to contribute to this process." ENDS

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