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Sinn Féin TD and MLA call for all Ireland approach to combating poverty

15 March, 2005

Sinn Féin MLA for North Belfast Cathy Stanton and Sean Crowe TD for Dublin South West have today welcomed the unveiling of a plan to fight poverty in Ireland. However, in a joint statement Deputy Crowe and Ms Stanton said that 'only an all Ireland approach to combating poverty will yield significant results.'

Combat Poverty today unveiled their strategic plan 2005-2007, and said that the distribution of income and jobs and access to health services and education are key to tackling poverty in Irish society.

Speaking today Deputy Crowe said:"At a time of unprecedented economic growth in the 26 Counties, it is absolutely appalling that poverty is endemic within our society. Far from the Celtic Tiger lifting people out of the poverty trap, it has plunged society's most vulnerable deeper into danger. By Minister Seamus Brennan's (Minister for Social Affairs) own admission, between 60,000 and 120,000 children in Ireland are living in poverty.

"It is quite clear that the southern political establishment are not serious about addressing the fundamental problems of poverty and deprivation. Indeed, in October 2004 Minister Willie O'Dea placed the blame for many of the problems in part of my constituency (Tallaght West) firmly at the door of the community by claiming that there was a 'lack of community cohesion'."

"It is blatantly obvious that there are no quick fix solutions to the issues of deprivation and poverty. However these problems are not insurmountable, they require a long-term commitment by the agencies of the state to effectively and adequately tackle them."

Ms Stanton said: "Sinn Féin is calling for an all-Ireland response to the poverty crisis. It is quite clear that poverty is a social problem which does not end at the border. Here in the north one in three children face poverty, there are very high levels of fuel poverty yet there is no strategic response to the situation. I am calling for the establishment of an all-Ireland agency to deal with these problems.

"Sinn Féin believes that with political will and a multi-faceted approach to the causes of poverty and deprivation that we can overcome these problems. Communities require urgent action not empty promises." ENDS

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