Anderson MEP encouraged by success of 'Tackling Child Poverty Conference'
Sinn Féin MEP, Martina Anderson has said she is greatly encouraged at the wide-ranging areas from which those attending the 'Tackling Child Poverty Conference' which she hosted in the Balmoral Hotel in Belfast today come from.
Martina Anderson said;
"Today's conference was attended by representatives from all the groups interested in tackling the problem of child poverty in society. We had speakers representing Child Welfare organisations across Ireland as well as prominent speakers from the EU. Successive speakers highlighted the devastating effects that the austerity agenda being driven by powerful governments and right wing interests in Europe is having on the most vulnerable in society and particularly on the welfare of our children.
Acknowledging the assistance that she received in organising the conference from the GUE/NGL political group to which she is affiliated in Europe Ms Anderson continued:
"The European Commission announced in 2010 its intention to adopt a Recommendation on Child Poverty in 2012. The EU Council Conclusions of June last year invited the Commission to put forward an EU Recommendation on child poverty and child well-being, “outlining common principles, effective monitoring and assessment tools.
"Across Europe there are over 25 million children living in poverty. That’s a staggering statistic revealing that many children are being denied access to most basic needs that should be part of human dignity.
"Here in the North of Ireland there are some 100,000 children living in poverty; in the South of Ireland they too have a staggering figure of 31.3% child poverty
“I was asked during the arrangements for this conference why Child Poverty was so important for me – well the answer is simple: I understand what child poverty means - because I was brought up with it all around me. There is nothing more debilitating and soul destroying for young people than being raised in a society that doesn’t provide them with the basic needs of life.
"Therefore, we must take account of material deprivation, and I await the findings from the European Commission’s work which is aimed at improving child material deprivation measure.
“Tackling and preventing child poverty as well as promoting child well-being involve action across different policy areas - such as social protection, employment, health, education, social services, housing, environment and justice.
"We have to send out a message that we cherish all of our young people and that we are determined to apply ourselves so that they get the best start in life and that there will be no discrimination against them, and to that end I sincerely hope that the Goods, Facilities and Services legislation committed in Programme for Government by the Executive has broad application.
"There is no doubt that our social and economic future greatly depends on our capacity to break the transmission of disadvantage across generations. I hope that this conference goes some way to stimulating action and provides the basis for lobbying governments to put their promises into action." CRÍOCH