Dublin South West representative Seán Crowe has described the latest Overseas Economic Cooperation and Development report on poverty as another sad and graphic indicator of the fallout from the Government’s austerity agenda.
The report entitled ‘Society at a Glance’ highlighted how one in ten people in this state now say that they cannot afford to buy food.
Crowe claimed that cuts to social welfare support may be popular to some in the Government’s austerity camp but these policies are also contributing directly to the escalation of poverty in Ireland.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“The content of this report is a damning indictment of the austerity policies being implemented by this Government and its predecessors.
“It is shameful that anybody in this country should have to go hungry. The image of children going to bed or school in that state is becoming more and more common.
“Last year another survey published by the Central Statistics Office said that many people are managing to get by just above the breadline. How many have already dropped below it and who is most likely to be living in poverty?
“One of the most striking findings of that study was how social welfare payments are the only thing keeping a huge number of people out of poverty in Ireland. Without social welfare, 50.7% of the population would be at risk of poverty – a figure which has jumped by more than 10% over the past decade.
“Every cut to that social welfare income leads to greater poverty for tens of thousands of people.
“These figures act as a backdrop to the personal damage that many hungry families and individuals have experienced and are compounded by a complete lack of any meaningful strategy and political inertia from successive governments.
“Cuts to social welfare supports may be popular to some in the Government’s austerity camp but these policies are also contributing directly to the escalation of poverty in Ireland.
“Is it any wonder that the number of hungry people accessing food at soup kitchens across the state quadrupled in just eight months last year?
“I think it is criminal that one in ten people now say that they cannot afford to buy food. This unacceptable situation has to change and these reports should act as a rallying call to everyone who wants to see a more equitable Ireland and a more inclusive world.”