One-in-five Irish children live in poverty

MORE than 100,000 children have been removed from living in poverty over the past decade as a result of targeted Government action, the Minister for Social Affairs Seamus Brennan claimed yesterday.

Significant progress, he insisted, had been made in tackling the problem of child poverty — despite new research which shows that almost one-in-five Irish children experienced income poverty for periods in excess of five years.

A study by the Combat Poverty Agency, published yesterday, showed that around 182,000 children came from families with less than 60% of average incomes.

It also claimed 10% of children under 14 years live in consistent poverty where they are deprived of many basic necessities. As a result, Ireland has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the EU.

The study is entitled, Day In, Day Out — Understanding the Dynamics of Child Poverty.

Mr Brennan acknowledged there were still an estimated 65,000 children who experience some form of income poverty.

But he claimed the findings of the report had to be placed in a historical context, being based on data relating to 1994-2001.

“Child benefit rates on behalf of almost one million children increased in less than a decade by almost 300% and are now among the highest in the EU,” the minister said.

The director of the Combat Poverty Agency, Helen Johnston, said the research highlighted how children moved in and out of poverty at various stages of their young lives.

The report revealed that children in single parent households are far more likely to experience poverty.

Ms Johnston said the findings of the study, carried out by the Economic and Social Research Institute, showed what further measures were needed to eliminate the problem.

She urged the Government to make it a policy priority that at least one parent should be in paid employment as it was one of the most effective ways of ending child poverty.

Mr Brennan said it was important to identify those who remained in serious poverty and to urgently channel services directly to them.

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