The Government missed its own unambitious target of lifting 70,000 children out of poverty by the end of 2020

The Government must act on child poverty and homelessness – and set up an Oireachtas Committee so that its progress can be monitored, according to Social Democrats Children’s Spokesperson Jennifer Whitmore and Housing Spokesperson Cian O’Callaghan.

Deputy Whitmore said:

“The Ombudsman for Children has now recommended that an Oireachtas Committee on Ending Child Poverty and Homelessness be established – which echoes a Dáil motion I introduced last year calling for an end to child poverty within the lifetime of this Government.

“Instead, the Government missed its own unambitious target of lifting 70,000 children out of poverty by the end of 2020. In the midst of a pandemic, where children bore the brunt of so much upheaval, a looming energy crisis and increase in fuel poverty on the horizon, it is hard to fathom that on top of it all, there are children dealing with homelessness.

“The Government must accept the Ombudsman’s initiative to establish a Special Oireachtas Committee to end child poverty, just as the Social Democrats suggested over a year ago. Action must be taken now – not in another year, which many families simply cannot afford”.

Deputy O’Callaghan said:

“The latest homeless statistics show that more than 2,000 children are currently living in emergency accommodation. We cannot allow this to continue. We must end child homelessness as a matter of urgency.

“Every child deserves somewhere safe, warm and secure to live and put down roots. Every child deserves a home. It is positive to see that the Ombudsman for Children is calling for the right to housing to be inserted into the Constitution.

“There is a solution to the housing crisis – central to that is increased State investment in affordable and social homes. It is welcome that the Ombudsman for Children is echoing the call from the ESRI for the Government to utilise the low cost of debt to invest in housing. The Government must listen to this advice and take action.”

23 September, 2021


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