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Government not bothered about poverty or inequality – Crowe

15 February, 2007

Speaking after latest figures from Unicef were released ranking Ireland 19th out of 21 industrialised countries for the proportion of children experiencing hardship Sinn Féin Social and Family Affairs spokesperson Seán Crowe slated the Government failing to use the opportunities presented by the Celtic Tiger for the eradication of poverty and inequality in society.

The Dublin South-West TD said, "These latest figures confirm once again that Ireland is now one of the most unequal societies in the developed world. The Celtic Tiger economy has unquestionably generated massive wealth, but this wealth has not been redistributed equally and has certainly not filtered down to the less well off. Over 80,000 children in this state go to school hungry each morning. This is intolerable in a rich society. This government has failed and continues to fail thousands of children and their families. They have had sufficient revenue to make not just a significant impact on reducing poverty, but to actually put in place measures to eradicate it.

"While this government boast of low unemployment levels, having a job does not guarantee that you will be free from poverty as nearly 14 per cent of households in poverty at present are headed by those with a job. These are Ireland's new working poor, many stuck in low-paid menial employment drudgery. The vulnerable and marginalised in society have been ignored as the gap between rich and poor continues to widen.

"Why in a country that has over €2 billion extra in revenue are there 7 per cent, or roughly 300,000 of the population living in consistent poverty. Why are there more than 80,000 children going to school hungry on a daily basis, why are there 5,000 homeless, why are there 44,000 on the housing list? Poverty and inequality exist because this government is more concerned with rewarding the wealthy, giving away public lands to private developers and selling off state assets. These latest figures from Unicef ranking Ireland 19th out of 21 industrialised countries for the proportion of children experiencing hardship show that the eradication of poverty and inequality is not a priority for this Government." Críoch

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