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'Alarming' statistics show 230,000 children live in poverty


Level of child poverty here is unacceptable, report says

Level of child poverty here is unacceptable, report says

Rafael Ben-Ari/Chameleons Eye

Level of child poverty here is unacceptable, report says

Around 230,000 children are living in poverty in Ireland, new statistics have shown.

Social Justice Ireland, which has just published its Poverty Focus 2019, is calling for working parents to be paid fairly.

The think-tank said better pay for parents, increased benefits and better social welfare could end child poverty, which affects one in five children.

"The scale of child poverty is alarming and is unacceptable in a country as wealthy as ours," said the group's director, Sean Healy.

"Despite good intentions, child poverty is an issue society and public policy has made little progress in addressing for a long time.

"Eliminating child poverty should be a top priority for the Government. It can be done, but it requires action now."

The report said one in four children are experiencing deprivation of two or more basic necessities.

It said 110,000 children are living in consistent poverty in households with incomes below the poverty line.


Social Justice Ireland said the figures cast a shadow on the future of these children, their success in the education system and job prospects and for the nation's long-term prosperity.

The group's research and policy analyst, Michelle Murphy, said: "Government can support low income families by prioritising adequate adult welfare rates, decent pay and conditions for working parents, increased child benefit and access to quality services."

Access to quality childcare, housing and healthcare are major considerations on where policy changes must take place, the group said.

Making tax credits refund- able is an "efficient and cost- effective solution" to help working families on low earnings.

In 2017, a Central Statistics Office (CSO) survey found that one in six people in Ireland, or 15.7pc of the population, live in poverty on less than €252.11 a week.

Social Justice Ireland said that a family of two adults and two children were at risk of poverty if they were earning €30,520 a year, or €584.90 a week.