Government failing a generation of children – Denise Mitchell TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs, Denise Mitchell TD, has accused the government of failing a generation of children when it comes to housing, health or child poverty.
Deputy Mitchell was speaking following the launch by Barnardos of its Lost Childhood campaign which highlights how one in seven children in the State is experiencing homelessness, poverty and neglect.
Deputy Mitchell said:
“The Government is keen to point to economic growth in the State, but if we learned anything from the Celtic Tiger it’s that investment in public services should be a priority when the economy is strong.
“The reality is that even during the worst periods of the recession there were not 3,000 homeless children. Child homelessness has almost doubled since 2015.
"I have had to accompany families to present themselves as homeless down at Parkgate Hall too many times already this year; and it is only February. The Government’s approach clearly is not working.
“The increase is a direct consequence of a failure by Government to provide truly affordable homes and social housing.
"I am again urging the Government to work with Local Authorities and provide them with multi-annual funding commitments to facilitate forward planning.”
Deputy Mitchell also raised concerns over the failure of the Government to fund and staff mental health services for young people:
“We have 7,000 kids waiting on mental health appointments – with one third waiting more than a year – while staffing levels in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are just over half of what is recommended. That needs to be addressed urgently.
“We need to see the recommendations outlined in ‘A Vision for Change’ realised in order to ensure that young people have the mental health supports they require.”ENDS