herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Over a quarter of population live in poverty

a worrying report has revealed that since the recession hit in 2007, the number of people in Ireland living in poverty has increased by almost 120,000.

Today, more than 750,000 fall into this category.

Social Justice Ireland has warned the Government that it needs to plan for both the short and long term if it is to resolve some of the issues affecting the country's most vulnerable people.

necessities

The figures, contained in a report by the charity published yesterday, highlights the escalating deprivation rate by measuring the number of people forced to go without several basic necessities.

This total has more than doubled, and the number is now 1.2 million, or 26.9pc of the population.

According to the report, almost one in five children (18.8pc) live in households with incomes below the poverty line. Overall, children represent a quarter of Ireland's poor.

"It is important that every effort is made to reduce income inequality and to narrow the income gap between the richest 10pc of the population and the poorest 10pc," the report outlined.

According to the NGO, the level of long-term unemployment remains a "major policy failure" and the Government needs to address it more effectively.

The number of long-term unemployed was fewer than 32,000 in 2007, but it has risen rapidly since reaching 155,500 at the end of last year.

Since the beginning of the recession, full-time employment has fallen by almost 312,000 jobs or 18pc, though part-time employment is up by 17pc.

"The experience of the 1980s showed the dangers and long-lasting implications of an unemployment crisis characterised by high long-term unemployment rates," the report said.

In a table illustrating the permanent, full-time employment of regions between 2004 and 2013, Dublin was the only area to experience a rise, of 12.7pc.

The starkest decline was in the Mid-West where the number of full-time jobs fell by 17.5pc. Overall, the "at risk of poverty" rate in rural areas is 4.5pc higher than that of urban areas.

iMPLICATIONS

The report said it is evident there needs to be a move away "from agricultural development to rural development, from maritime development to supporting coastal communities and to support small, local, sustainable and indigenous enterprises, farming and fishing".

Elsewhere, the report said that by 2025 the number of people living here aged over 85 will have doubled, with implications for the health service.

It also warned that the country must be mindful of past mistakes and needs to plan for this additional demand.

hnews@herald.ie

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