Worries about having enough money for food increasing, says Crowe
Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD, Seán Crowe, has claimed that a recent survey which questioned adults and teachers about their fears about having money for food makes bitter reading.
In the survey 22% of adults said they are worried about the amount of money they have left to buy food, and the figure jumps to 33% for parents with children of school going age.
Crowe described the survey, ‘Food Divide Getting Bigger’, as vitally important as it also highlighted the difficult road that countless families have experienced in recent years.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“This vitally important survey on the worries many citizens have about the amount of money they have left at the end of the week to buy food was carried out by the food company Kellogg’s, and 3,000 adults, including 400 teachers, were questioned
“Over half of the teachers who responded spoke of pupils arriving at their school hungry at least once a week.
“Worse still, a whopping 77% said they had seen in their own daily work the image of hungry children coming to their school increase over the last year.
“Another survey from Eurostat would also seem to back up that assertion, claiming that over one-fifth of the Irish workforce is now in low pay employment, which is widening the gap in terms of income distribution.
“Unfortunately this Fine Gael led Government is in denial and continues to peddle the lie that people are feeling a bounce in their economic fortunes.
“The key finding in this Kellogg’s survey is that this Government’s much lauded economic recovery is leaving those on lower incomes fall further and further behind.
“It also outlines quite clearly the long difficult road that countless families have had to experience in recent years.
“We need immediate intervention and the Government need to publicly commit to more breakfast clubs as they are a proven way to help hungry school going children.
“Hunger affects a child’s behaviour and directly impacts their ability to learn in a school setting. It is also morally wrong that a society which has ample resources to feed hungry children and their families is failing to do so.
“Expenditure on food has also seen a drastic reduction since the Government began its austerity measures with many parents having suffered income losses and do not have as much money to spend on food or anything else for that matter.
“I fully support the survey’s recommendations as regards what can be done to combat food poverty, including the need for extra food banks and local charities, further funding for the school meals programs, with a greater emphasis on food education and the teaching of cooking skills.
“We need to force Government Departments and Agencies to work together to break the cycle of poverty. We could choose to increase child benefit. We could and can support lone parents better. We can and could choose to adequately fund Tusla so it can give real and increase support for our most vulnerable children. We could invest in universal services and ensure free and equal access to education and healthcare for all children. We also need to invest in helping children go to school and crucially keeping them in school.
“There is also a need for a complete change in approach regarding Government policy that currently rewards the wealthy while heavily taxing those on low and middle incomes.
“Heavily taxing those on low and middle incomes undermines the local economy as they spend a greater portion of their wages on food and services. It also impacts on children with more and more being trapped in poverty and living with the reality of hunger in modern day Ireland.”