SVP witnessing little evidence of ‘recovery’

Anti-poverty charity St Vincent de Paul has hit out at Ireland’s claimed recovery, insisting the group is helping the same number of people today as it was at the lowest point of the recession.

Workers for the charity revealed the situation at the launch of its annual Christmas appeal yesterday, warning that despite the Government’s insistence the crisis is over, one-in-10 people are still struggling to cope.

According to the leading charity, volunteers helped 400,000 people in need last year at a cost of almost €40m to the group.

The rate is identical to figures from 2009 until 2013, and is 117% higher than the Celtic Tiger era.

Between now and Christmas, St Vincent de Paul is expecting to help more than 40,000 people as part of its Christmas appeal campaign, providing them with clean clothes, food and toys for children in their families.

While the majority of those seeking support from the charity are unemployed or on low incomes, a growing number are on higher wages or are struggling with mounting mortgage debt.

A St Vincent de Paul spokesperson said “one in four” people helped this year were “new entrants” — meaning until now they did not need the group’s support.

Speaking at the launch of the Christmas appeal at its head office on 91-92 Sean McDermott St, Dublin, the charity’s national president Geoff Meagher said despite the “recovery” claims “we haven’t seen much of this”.

Yesterday’s launch was supported by RTÉ star Ryan Tubridy, and Kerry and Dublin GAA All-Ireland heroes Killian Young and Denis Bastick.

Since 2008, government funding for St Vincent de Paul has fallen by 12%, at a time when those seeking support has doubled.

Details on how to donate to the appeal — including an Irish Examiner “selfie” competition and a special charity single — can be found at www.svp.ie.

Toy wars

RTÉ and TV3 bosses are gearing up for a TV ratings war, but Toy Show host Ryan Tubridy says he won’t be throwing any props out of the pram.

Speaking to reporters at the St Vincent de Paul annual Christmas appeal launch, the RTÉ star said despite TV3 rolling out a bigger version its own toy show this year in a bid to steal his spotlight (and, presumably, festive jumper crown) there is no need for any fallout.

“I’m working [so he won’t watch the rival show], but it’s nice, it’s a good idea, I’ll watch it the next day or something. I mean it’s a toy show! You can’t fall out over a few toys,” he said.

While TV3’s first toy show attempt received a mixed response last year, the 2014 version — from 8pm-9.30pm tomorrow — is expected to be a far fancier affair. Pop star Brian McFadden and presenter Karen Koster will present alongside guests Jedward. While RTÉ’s Late Late Toy Show will not be aired until next week, Tubridy said he had some plans up his sleeve. Teasing about the still-secret theme of his show, he paraphrased Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, saying: “God help us, every one.”


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