Irish Examiner view: How bill for fighting poverty hit €4.5bn is a cruel mystery

Irish Examiner view: How bill for fighting poverty hit €4.5bn is a cruel mystery
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Every now and then a series of events reminds us of some of the life-altering consequences of institutionalised disadvantage and poverty.

The Black Lives Matter protests sweeping parts of the world, though there is much more than poverty involved, seem such a moment.

Why one humanitarian crisis might provoke a near-global response and others, say the four years of famine in Yemen or the persecution of China’s minority Uighurs, go almost unnoticed and unchallenged is one of the cruel mysteries of our world.

Real, grinding poverty in a rich country like this seems a cruel mystery too.

It is also an affront. Yet it endures, despite, as Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) records, the Government spending some €4.5bn to target the consequences of poverty each year. SVP says this is more than the combined budgets for housing, justice, transport, and agriculture.

It might be guileless to suggest that spending €4.5bn a year in an affluent country of 5m souls should change the circumstances trapping so many in unnecessary poverty. That it does not is a cruel mystery but one we can, and must, resolve.

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