Government failing to tackle rising levels of poverty – Cullinane
The government is failing its most vulnerable citizens, and doing nothing to arrest the alarming increases in poverty levels, according to Sinn Fein Senator David Cullinane.
The Waterford Senator was speaking during the Order of Business today, where he called for a specific debate on the issue in the Seanad.
“All the evidence suggests that far from protecting the most vulnerable, as they so often proclaim, government policies are pushing more and more families in to poverty and in to hardship.
“But yet more troubling is that it appears to be children who are feeling the full weight of this hardship.
“The Children’s Rights Alliance has stated that Budget 2012 exposed yet more families and children to poverty, and this has been borne out by statistics recently released by the ESRI. Those statistics indicate that in 2010 eight per cent of children were in consistent poverty and some 30 per cent of children were in households which experienced deprivation.
“Focus Ireland has also noted that some one in seven of those using homelessness services is a child, and that 5,000 people are likely to be homeless in any given week.
“Such levels of poverty are a disgrace and it is clear that the government has no strategy to tackle this crisis. I call on the government to ensure that this matter is debated as a matter of priority, so that we can set about resolving the issue.
“I also note that recent ESRI figures highlighted the strain on the working poor.
“Basic work-related costs like food and transport costs a worker €7,000 a year if there are no children in the house, and €10,000 for those with one child under five.
“Likewise childcare can cost in the area of 30 per cent of monthly incomes. Many different categories of people are suffering from poverty and hardship, and there is no question but that many people who are in work are under immense pressure as well as those who are not. The government needs to consider ways to respond to the difficulties facing so many working families, in particular related to the outrageous cost of childcare.”