herald

Wednesday 18 October 2017

'Too many children are at risk of poverty'

Maureen O'Sullivan TD takes part with anti poverty activists in the Stop Poverty Call to Action event at the Human rights and Poverty Stone on Custom House Quay
Maureen O'Sullivan TD takes part with anti poverty activists in the Stop Poverty Call to Action event at the Human rights and Poverty Stone on Custom House Quay

The leader of an EU team that targets poverty has said Ireland "has a long way to go" in helping children.

Professor Hugh Frazer (67), from Rathmines, says more than a third of Irish children are in poverty or threatened by it.

Yesterday, a large group braved the biting cold and rain to attend the annual launch of the Stop Poverty Call to Action at the Human Rights and Poverty Stone on Dublin's Custom House Quay. The campaign's aim is to draw awareness to poverty internationally.

Deprivation

Prof Frazer has long been involved in social affairs and specialises in issues relating to child poverty.

"Historically, Ireland has always had a high level of child poverty and social exclusion, and for a developed European country we still have high figures. It's about one in three children who are at risk of poverty," he said

"So that means children are living with families with low incomes or experiencing a lot of material deprivation, that lack of basic necessities."

Prof Frazer is the coordinator of the EU Network of Independent Experts on Social Inclusion, which aims to highlight poverty and social exclusion in more than 30 European countries.

Figures recently released showed some 2,505 children were homeless in Ireland last Christmas, which Prof Frazer said was "one of the most worrying parts of the homelessness crisis".

"It's how it has expanded from the more traditional group of people to a large number of families, and there undoubtedly has been an increase in the number of families affected by homelessness," he said.

TD Maureen O'Sullivan attended the event and said: "Every year, on October 17, which is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, I come here.

"I'm meeting people who are homeless and, even though there has been some movement, there is still a long way to go."

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