One million people poor or deprived in ‘rich, developed’ Ireland

One million people in Ireland are either poor or deprived, despite a booming economy, according to Social Justice Ireland. Among them are 250,000 children and 100,000 “working poor”.

Calling on the Government to commit to building a fairer future for all, Social Justice Ireland director Sean Healy said that, while the economy is doing well, it is crucial that policymakers realise many on lower incomes are not benefitting as they should.

A quarter of a million children are among the 790,000 people in Ireland living in poverty, he said.

“One million people in Ireland are experiencing deprivation; 105,000 people with a job have incomes so low they are living in poverty.

“Despite an increase in average 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 rich, developed country like Ireland.”

As the economy grows and resources become available it is essential that these are used to address the major challenges faced by many of Ireland’s people in areas such as housing and homelessness, healthcare, poverty, and precarious employment, he said.

“As Ibec has recently pointed out, disposable incomes of Irish households are growing at four times the eurozone average. However, rents in Ireland are rising at six times the European median. We welcome Ibec’s conclusion that a failure to resolve the housing crisis will eventually lead to higher prices on other goods as well, and a loss in competitiveness,” he said.

Eamon Murphy, economic and social analyst with SJI, said it was extremely worrying that despite Ireland allegedly having the fastest growing economy in Europe, there is little relief for the working poor.

“There has been no change in the number of people in employment who are at risk of poverty,” he said.

“If Government wishes to address issues of reducing poverty and ‘making work pay’, policy must prioritise those at the bottom of the income distribution. These policies must address the wide variety of households and adults in poverty.”


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