Labour Party has questions to answer as one in three children at risk of poverty – Liadh Ní Riada MEP
Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has strongly criticised the Labour Party over its role in Government, as European statistics show higher than average child poverty rates in Ireland and 33.9% of children here at risk of poverty.
Liadh Ní Riada said;
“One in every three children in Ireland is at risk of poverty or social exclusion. According to the figures published by Eurostat, Ireland is well above the EU average when it comes to children at risk of poverty.
“When we look at the statistics for severe material deprivation amongst children, we see again that Ireland is above average, with at least one in eight children unable to access goods and services that would be considered ordinary or necessary by society.
“In 2013, 12% of children in Ireland were living in consistent poverty, and given the continued cuts to social spending by Government and the ongoing housing crisis. The rate of child poverty has doubled under the current Government, and despite their talk of recovery it is clear that more and more families are finding themselves in real hardship and are struggling to cope.
“Anecdotally, we know that support services and charities are feeling the pressure. 1,500 children are living in emergency accommodation across the State and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul are reporting that they are dealing mostly with families with children, who are experiencing poverty.
“The Labour Party in particular have a lot to answer for. They entered Government claiming that they would protect working people, families and the vulnerable. Instead they have implemented an agenda of cuts that have hit low and middle income families the hardest.
“Cuts to child benefit, to lone parent payments, to the health service and in education, all of which the Labour party have stood over, have created untold hardship and deprivation.
“Ireland needs a fair recovery. A recovery that puts the needs of children ahead of bankers, speculators and politicians.”