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Government turning a blind eye to growing child poverty – Cullinane

1 December, 2011

The policies pursued by successive governments have exacerbated the difficulties being faced by countless families around the country and are pushing more and more people in to poverty, according to Senator David Cullinane.

Speaking in the Seanad today the Waterford Senator said:

“The statistics which accompany this issue are deeply troubling. Between 2007 and 2010 the numbers of people experiencing enforced deprivation has doubled from 11% to 22%.

“The number of children deprived of very basic essentials has risen from 23.5% in 2009 to 30.2% in 2010 and there are many people going without two of the basic essentials such as a warm and waterproof coat or one substantial meal each day.

“Successive governments’ austerity policies created this poverty.

“Last night government TDs voted against a Sinn Féin motion to commit the government to protecting child benefit. Ironically this came on the same day that St Vincent De Paul launched a campaign to appeal for support and donations for the least well off in the run up to Christmas.”

“This was a clear u-turn on promises made before and after the election. The Labour party told us 'Protect Child Benefit – Vote Labour'. The Programme for Government also makes a clear commitment to maintaining social welfare rates.

“This government has a choice. Sinn Fein’s pre-budget submission presents a range of policy options to raise the finance needed to close the deficit, to create investment in employment while also reducing poverty and inequality. They can choose to protect the vulnerable by asking those who can pay most to do so, or they can choose to condemn countless children to poverty. We will see what they choose next week.”

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