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Political will basic requirement to fight against poverty

17 October, 2005

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP has said that political will is a basic requirement in the fight against poverty both in Ireland and across the world.

In a joint statement with Sinn Fein spokesperson on Poverty, North Belfast MLA Kathy Stanton, to mark UN Eradication of Poverty Day Mr McGuinness said:

"In a world of increasing wealth, a world growing smaller with technology, communications and faster transport it is wrong that each week thousands of children die from starvation or ill health. If the money being used by developing nations to pay back debt was channelled into health and education the lives of millions of children every year could be saved.

"To effectively tackle poverty and hunger we have to understand the context in which they occur and the policies and problems that create this human disaster. We need fair trade and debt cancellation. We need governments to live up to the commitments of spending 0.7 of GDP on overseas aid by 2012. We also need effective campaigning to ensure that governments maintain the political will to follow through on promises.

Ms Stanton added:

"Poverty affects one in four adults and one in three children in Ireland. It destroys lives, reduces the human capacity to create and achieve and blights communities for generations. It is present in every corner of our society.

"Privilege has been the foundation stone of British rule in the North of Ireland. Inequality has been the price of privilege. Over 35 years after the Civil Rights Movement launched its campaign to highlight the nature of structural discrimination in housing, voting and jobs these same issues remain at the core of continued inequalities. The entrenched inequality within the northern state is such that more than 35 years later we still see these same patterns of inequality." ENDS

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