Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has said a recent report from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) that shows the numbers living in poverty still at crisis levels is another indicator that the recovery is partial, not impacting on those stuck in poverty.
This highlights again the need for the government to put in place an ambitious integrated anti-poverty plan. The Sinn Féin TD said:
“The most recent report from the CSO shows that the number of people living in poverty is still at crisis levels and those living in poverty are not experiencing any benefits of the economic recovery. Clearly the recovery is happening but it is only impacting on the few. A large section of our population, particularly those currently stuck in poverty, are not experiencing any positive change.
It is also deeply worrying that the Government’s own target for the eradication of poverty is not being met. According to CSO consistent poverty fell slightly from 8.7% to 8.3% or around 394,900 people but the Government missed its interim poverty reduction target of reducing it to 4% by 2016. This is unacceptable especially in a wealthy country like Ireland and highlights a lack of commitment from this administration when it comes to the less well off.
The number of people at-risk of poverty fell slightly from 16.9% in 2015 to 16.5% or over 785,000 people with 11% of children in consistent poverty in 2016. The overall situation is much worse for certain households. For example, in 2016 around four in ten households headed by someone who is unemployed, not at work due to an illness or a disability, and households with one adult and children were at-risk of poverty, and one quarter of them were in consistent poverty.
The current Programme for Government committed to developing an integrated plan to address inequality and poverty. Following these latest figures from the CSO it is clear they need to develop and enhance that plan.
Their approach is clearly not working, has no urgency, and a new plan needs to be prioritised in 2018. This year we need to see an operational plan that will deliver change and help lift people out of poverty if the Government are to meet their 2% target for consistent poverty by 2020.”