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Poverty levels more damning of Government than jailing of Burke - O Caoláin

2 February, 2005

Sinn Féin leader in the Dáil and the party's spokesperson on Health and Children, Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin TD, described the report published last week which showed that nearly one in four people were at risk of poverty as a "much more damning indictment of the record of Governments than the jailing of Ray Burke."

Deputy Ó Caoláin made his comments during Leaders Questions in the Dáil today. He described the persistence of this level of poverty and inequality in a State, that is supposedly one of the wealthiest in the world, as "a disgrace." He specifically asked the Tánaiste, who is standing in for the Taoiseach, what was "her response to the fact that after a decade of the so-called Celtic Tiger it is children more than any other group who are living in consistent poverty."

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "Nearly 15% of children under 15 are consistently poor, in other words living in homes which struggle to provide adequate food, heating and clothing. Isn't this a much more damning indictment of the record of Governments than the jailing of Ray Burke.

Calling for an increase in Child Benefit and Child Dependent Allowance he said, "We have the resources in this country to ensure that no child suffers deprivation."

Deputy Ó Caoláin also went on to call for the cutting of funding to the Community Workers Co-op, which he described as a "scandal", to be reversed as he said the "organisation has been doing major work to combat poverty for the last 24 years."ENDS

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