Monday 24 October 2016

Child poverty like tenement years, says report

New research revealed child poverty levels. Picture posed.
New research revealed child poverty levels. Picture posed.

The level of child poverty in Ireland has almost doubled in the past seven years, with nearly 1,500 children now homeless, a report has shown.

A study said children living in hotels with their families was like the bleak tenement life of old.

The Children’s Rights Alliance (CRA) launched a report called Are We There Yet? that shows child poverty jumped from 6.3pc in 2008 to 12pc in 2013.

Another statistic to come out of the report is that almost a quarter of lone parent households “are living in consistent poverty”.

It shows that there were more than 700 families and nearly 1,500 children in emergency accommodation as of August this year.

The report carries “very stark findings”, those present at the launch were told.

“The figure that is so shocking is the nearly 1,500 children living in emergency accommodation,” said CRA’s legal and policy director Maria Corbett.

“That means they’re living in a room with their parents and siblings – there is nowhere to play, nowhere to do homework, there’s nowhere to cook”.

Journalist Fintan O’Toole addressed the launch and said one of the things that outraged people about Dublin in the early 20th Century was that there were families living in one room.

“We again have families living in one room,” he said.

CRA chief executive Tanya Ward said: “Something that I think was very stark for me was the connection with the children of the tenements from 100 years ago and children now living in emergency accommodation – 1,500 of them.

“If you talk to the housing authorities they will tell you it will take up to two years to rehouse the children that are in emergency accommodation at the moment.”

The study was launched ahead of Ireland’s report under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is due in January.


It is almost 10 years since Ireland was last examined, in 2006. The recommendations from that resulted in the Children’s Referendum of 2012.

The new report said there had been “much progress” since the last review, but Ireland “has a long way to go”.

The report recommends that the State “enacts legislation to prohibit the placement of families with children in in-

appropriate emergency accom-

modation”, saying that long-term living in emergency accommodation was “costly, unsustainable and not conducive to childhood development”.

It also highlights a number of challenges that will need to be tackled to deal with this problem, including the cost of healthcare, housing, education and childcare.

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