The Conference of Religious in Ireland has challenged the Government's claim that it takes poverty and inequality into account when formulating all of its policies.
Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs, Mary Coughlan, had made the claim during the launch of a report last week.
But CORI spokesman Fr Sean Healy said the Government's actions contradict Minister Coughlan's statements.
"It simply isn't credible to say that the Government takes poverty into account when it is formulating its policies," he said.
"All you have to do is look at what they've actually done in the budget for 2003, for example. They increased the lowest social welfare rates by €6-a-week for single people and €10-a-week for couples.
"To meet their own target that they had set in the National Anti-Poverty Strategy, they should have raised it by €14-a-week for single people and €24 for a couple."