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Nutritional Health Report raises serious concerns for children in Emergency Accommodation – Mitchell

9 August, 2017 - by Denise Mitchell TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs, Denise Mitchell TD, said today’s Focus Ireland report entitled ‘Food Access and Nutritional Health of Families in Emergency Accommodation’ raises serious concerns around the nutritional and dietary health of children and families in emergency accommodation.

“This report makes for shocking reading and is an important reminder of why we need to see families moved into appropriate permanent accommodation as soon as possible. It is totally unacceptable that families in emergency accommodation have to resort to cooking food in kettles and eating their meals on their beds or on the floor”, she said.

“What is very obvious is that parents are incredibly constrained in what foods they can provide for their children. The report shows that parents are well aware of the importance of food and nutrition to their children's health, but because of the circumstances they find themselves in and a lack of access to kitchen facilities; they simply do not have the ability to cook healthy meals.

“This sees many parents having to resort to supplementing their family's diets with high-fat fast-food, takeaways and snacks which is simply not an appropriate diet for anybody, especially growing children.”

Deputy Mitchell also called on the Government to support a proposal by her colleague, Housing Spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD, to allow HIQA inspections of the child protection and welfare services provided to children living in all Government-funded emergency accommodation including Section Ten and local authority-funded emergency homeless accommodation.

She added that the Government needs to focus on delivering real long-term homes:

“Emergency accommodation and emergency hubs are also not a long-term solution to the housing and homelessness crisis. What we need to see is the building of more social and affordable housing and a focus on bringing vacant homes back into use.” 

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