Gary Gannon TD, the Social Democrats spokesperson on Social Protection, has backed calls by St Vincent de Paul for the establishment of a Special Oireachtas Committee on Poverty and Inequality.

Deputy Gannon said:

“Disadvantaged communities have been disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and there are now over 700,000 people experiencing poverty in Ireland. Poverty is something that is corrosive and impacts people in every walk of life.

“While we’ve had roadmaps for reducing poverty levels, we’ve consistently missed our targets over the last 10 years. SVP and other social justice groups are asking the Government for special attention to be placed on the issue of poverty and inequality in society and this is a suggestion I strongly agree with.

“I’m particularly conscious of the challenges faced by one-parent families as they are the group most statistically at risk of poverty in this country. Now they are told that they need to be actively seeking work if they are on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, yet they can’t access childcare.

“We need to confront that old trope that the best way to get people out of poverty is to get them into work. The Minister for Social Protection should tell that to the 160,000 people in this country who were working but still experiencing poverty before the pandemic.

“The best way we can get people out of poverty is to provide an appropriate social safety net so when they are struggling the State will step in and support them.”

July 29, 2020

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