The Society of St Vincent de Paul, Barnardos and Social Justice Ireland have hit out at the recently released figures from the CSO that have confirmed there are hundred of thousands of individuals and families struggling with low incomes and high housing costs.
Last year the SVP received more than 130,000 calls for help across the country, with most calls coming from households with children.
SVP Social Policy Officer Caroline Fahey said: “Government has set an ambitious target to lift 97,000 children out of consistent poverty by 2020, and today’s figures show that in spite of some improvement, progress is slow.”
““More needs to be done if we are to make significant progress on tackling child poverty.”
According to Social Justice Ireland, 245,645 children, under the age of 18 are living in poverty.
Research and Policy Analyst with Social Justice Ireland Michelle Murphy said: “Despite an increase in median incomes and other signs of economic recovery these figures show that a significant proportion of the population is still living in very difficult circumstances. These figures are unacceptable in a developed Western economy”
Mrs Murphy continued: “It is important to note that social welfare is of critical importance in addressing poverty. Without social welfare payments 46.3% of Ireland’s population would be living in poverty; such an underlying poverty rate suggests a deeply unequal distribution of income”
“Almost 790,000 people in Ireland are surviving on incomes of less than €11,863 per annum. Also of concern is that 406,612 of the people who are subsisting on this very low income are being deprived of basic essentials. The number of people experiencing deprivation is more than twice what it was in 2007. This represents a huge challenge to Government and to Society”
Barnardos has also reacted to these figures calling them ‘scandalous’.
Barnardos CEO Fergus Finlay said: “When you think about what these figures mean, it is scandalous. It means that two children in every classroom are living without access to basic necessities through no fault of their own. They are going without good shoes, or warm jackets to keep the cold out.
“They’re often going without nutritious meals, and they’re living in substandard housing often without heat.”