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UN Human Development report highlights Ireland's poverty shame

10 November, 2006

In reaction to yesterday’s UN Human Development Report 2006, which put Ireland in 17th place in a poverty index of 18 OECD countries, Sinn Féin Social and Family Affairs spokesperson Seán Crowe stated that “this hard evidence once again reinforces the fact that poverty should still be a major concern in this state.”

The Dublin South West TD said, “In the 26 counties’ Celtic Tiger booming economy which is so often talked about, people are fast becoming purely consumers rather than citizens in a collective society. Our economic success has certainly not been shared by everyone, and this is why poverty is still prevalent.

“This government, awash with money, has had the opportunity to eradicate poverty, but has chose not to do so. In a wealthy society, in which new millionaires are being created every other day, the other end of the spectrum offers some harsh realities. No child should go to school hungry, no person should have to brave the elements and sleep rough on our streets and no elderly person should have to endure the indignity of attempting to survive, never mind participate, in society on an inadequate pension. This is the harsh reality.

“In one of the wealthiest jurisdictions throughout the world, the fact that there are still approximately 100,000 children living in consistent poverty is appalling. Irish pension rates are among the lowest in the OECD, fuel poverty is acute where a significant number of people are failing to heat their homes, which will be exacerbated by the further 20 per cent increase in electricity and 34 per cent increase in gas. There are currently 30 per cent of lone parent households living in consistent poverty. The depressing list goes on.

“Economic success should be used as a means to ensure everyone is lifted out of poverty through equitable and fair redistribution of wealth, our economic success should be used for the greater good rather than solely for the benefit of the few.”


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