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Economic success has left the poor behind - Crowe

20 June, 2006

Speaking this afternoon in the Dáil, Sinn Féin Social and Family Affairs spokesperson Seán Crowe TD called for action from the Minister for Social and Family Affairs Séamus Brennan to end consistent child poverty. 65,000 children are currently living in consistent poverty. Deputy Crowe said, "A single child living in poverty is unacceptable in a country with a Government presiding over unprecedented wealth."

He said, "Approximately 7% of the population are in consistent poverty. Obviously the effects of economic growth and the wealth generated by the so-called miraculous Celtic tiger boom are not trickling down to the most needy in society. Ireland is performing shamefully in the redistribution of its wealth.

"There is a whole group in Irish society that has been left behind. If you are elderly you are more likely to be poor, lone parents are more likely to be poor, homeless people, people with disabilities, the elderly, the unemployed, the travelling community and those on low income are all more likely to suffer from poverty. For many people coming from those backgrounds this is a never ending cycle, their parents before them were poor and their children are likely to be poor. The Minister must act to end this cycle and put an end to generational poverty.

"I don't get any sense of urgency from the Minister or his colleagues in relation to poverty or the fact that there are 65,000 children living in consistent poverty. That in many cases means children going to school hungry; and this in a country where there are new millionaires made every day. It is wrong and it needs to be treated with an urgency that so far has been lacking from this Government.

"A single child living in poverty is unacceptable in a country with a Government presiding over unprecedented wealth. There has been report after report over the last ten years, we have attended all the launches and we have contributed to the analysis. Now is the time for action, we need to see the Minister acting to eliminate all the fundamental issues that contribute to poverty in our society, we have never been in a better position to do so." ENDS

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