Child poverty has lifelong consequences – limiting children’s education, their aspirations, their wellbeing and their potential.
A special Oireachtas Committee to tackle worsening child poverty rates must be established, according to Social Democrats Children’s Spokesperson Jennifer Whitmore.
Deputy Whitmore made her remarks as the Children’s Rights Alliance launched its Child Poverty Monitor – a new annual report that will analyse child poverty.
“The Child Poverty Monitor reveals not only the endemic nature of child poverty, but that children and young people are being pulled into poverty at a higher rate than the general population.
“The analysis also reveals that key poverty metrics for children and young people are getting worse including growing waiting lists for key health services, mental health supports, barriers to education and a chronic lack of social housing.
“As a result, the Children’s Rights Alliance has called for the establishment of a National Poverty Unit, something I have advocated for since being elected.
“Unfortunately, the government rejected my Dáil Motion in 2020 which called for such a cross-departmental unit. It also declined to commit to eliminating, not just tackling, child poverty in Ireland.
“Having previously dithered and delayed, the government must now be proactive and establish a special Oireachtas Committee on child poverty. The Committee should be tasked with supporting the establishment of a National Poverty Unit, as well as poverty-proofing policy proposals that impact on children and young people.
“Furthermore, the Committee should examine various social welfare payments, and their rates, with a view to targeting support at lone-parent families and families on low and fixed-income – those most at risk of poverty.
“It is important that the government responds constructively to this alarming report from the Children’s Rights Alliance. A special Oireachtas Committee on child poverty could examine the root causes, and solutions, to issues including social exclusion, homelessness, food poverty, income inadequacy, educational disadvantage and healthcare deficits.
“Child poverty has lifelong consequences – limiting children’s education, their aspirations, their wellbeing and their potential. The government must act.”
13 July, 2022