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Time for action on child poverty - Crowe

29 May, 2006


Speaking  today  after  attending  the launch of a new report by the Combat Poverty  Agency,  Sinn  Féin Spokesperson on Social and Family Affairs Seán Crowe  TD  welcomed  the  report  but insisted that “it is now time for the government to act urgently to ensure that child poverty is eradicated.

Deputy  Crowe  said,  “Though the Irish government have already given their
commitment to reduce consistent poverty to 2% or completely eradicate it by
2007,  the fact remains that, in one of the richest countries per capita in
the world, one in ten children live in consistent poverty in Ireland.

“In  fact, Ireland has amongst the highest rates of child poverty in the EU
and  OECD.  It  is  unacceptable  that  in  such  a  wealthy country that a
significant  percentage  of  our  children  are  being  deprived  of  basic
necessities.

“As  child  poverty  is  a  complex issue, it must be tackled by a range of
measures,  dealing  with  all  of  the  main  issues.  The  government have
sufficient  analysis  of  why  children  are in poverty, now it is time for
action.

“We  must  tackle child poverty head on through increased welfare payments,
such  as  increasing the child dependant allowance for poorer families. The
government  must  also ease the transition for people going from welfare to
work, and must ensure that high quality, affordable and universal childcare
is made available, especially for lone parents, as the cost of childcare in
Ireland  is  a  major  barrier  to employment. We must also ensure that our
workforce  is  up-skilled so they keep pace with the increasing new demands
of Irish employment.

“The   government  also  needs  to  intensify  its  campaign  to  eradicate
educational  disadvantage.  The  study  in  question  shows  that childhood
educational  opportunities impact on the likelihood of adult poverty. There
also  needs  to  be  a  greater emphasis on providing pre-school places. By
reducing  social  inequalities the government can make progress on tackling
poverty.

“We  need  to ensure universal access to healthcare, as a right and free to
all.  Our  housing  crisis needs to be tackled as well, the government must
significantly  reduce  the  housing waiting list of over 48,000 people; and
must provide housing for our estimated 5,500 homeless.

“All of the above areas must be addressed by this government in a concerted
effort if they are serious about tackling child poverty, and indeed poverty
in general.

“A  multitude  of  research  has been done and reports published, it is now
time  for  action  to  eradicate child poverty. The financial resources are
there,  it  is  now a matter for the government to allocate these resources
where they are most needed.” ENDS

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