Child poverty remains a national scandal
Labour children and social welfare spokesperson Seán Sherlock said this Government is failing to tackle child poverty head on.
Deputy Sherlock said:
“According to the UNICEF, Ireland’s child poverty rate has dropped by 19% between 2014-2021 which is welcome, but it can be no excuse for Government to rest on their laurels, with a shocking one in seven children still living in poverty, and more than one in ten in prolonged poverty.
“In 2022, 188,602 children lived in households that were below the poverty line and 247,574 children were living in households experiencing deprivation.
“Having one child living in poverty should be a national scandal. It’s clear from this report that far too many children continue to be failed by this conservative coalition.
“There’s no evidence of Government taking this issue seriously, just look at Budget 2024 which prioritised landlords, some homeowners and high earners. It’s clear that child poverty won’t be ended by this Government.
“Budget 2024 should be a milestone budget for the Irish economy and an opportunity to level the playing field between the have lots and the have nots that has widened under the coalition of convenience.
“Under Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party, standards of living are falling, not rising. The Civil War parties, in particular, have been happy to let the State play second fiddle to the market – uncritically.
“Every child should get a fair start in life to flourish, and no child should feel that they or their family are struggling. In our most impressionable years, the State should be wrapping supports around our young people and children.
“Our children deserve better. They deserve access to a public childcare place to learn and to grow, they deserve a warm home with food on the table and they deserve equality of opportunity when it comes to education.
“Economic inequality remains the greatest divide of our times, and Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are abjectly failing to grasp this. There are too many families living in poverty, disproportionately impacting children from single-parent families and from minority backgrounds.
“As is evident throughout the entire policy approach of this Government, they have no interest in tackling inequality. Instead, they want to give tax breaks to the well off, and opt for classist language in their Oireachtas contributions. It’s shameful.
“We are one of wealthiest countries in world, yet too many of our own people feel impoverished – not just economically, but spiritually and culturally. That must change.”