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Policy issues concerning Income Distribution and Poverty

Tackling poverty and income inequality effectively is a multifaceted task. It requires action on many fronts, ranging from healthcare and education to accommodation and employment. However, the most important requirement in tackling poverty is the provision of sufficient income to enable people to live life with dignity.  This forms a core element of Social Justice Ireland’s Policy Framework for a Just Ireland.

‘Cherishing all Equally’, a new report by the independent think-tank, TASC, has revealed yawning gaps in income distribution in Ireland.

Social Justice Ireland strongly endorses the call by Ireland’s largest trade union to “battle” for low-paid vulnerable workers by seeking acceptance by employers of a living wage of €11.45 an hour.

There are 698,000 people still in poverty in Ireland. Even though the poverty line has fallen by 16% since 2008, nearly one in seven people in Ireland are in poverty. Over 211,000 of these are children.

  • 16 per cent of adults living in poverty are employed – these are the working poor.
  • Numbers living in poverty have increased by 120,000 since beginning of the recession.
  • 756,591 people are living in poverty in Ireland according to the latest CSO statistics published today..
  • Even though the poverty line fell by 15% since 2008, the proportion of Ireland's population below this lower poverty line has risen by 15% during the same period.

Latest statistics show poorest 10% of population lost 18.4% of real disposable income compared to 11.4% loss among the richest 10&% since the crash of 2008.

Situation worse if cuts in services and increased charges are included in calculations.

The gap between low and middle-income Ireland on the one hand and the rich on the other hand has widened dramatically.

The increase in the proportion of Ireland’s population at risk of poverty, (from 14.7% to 16.0% in one year) clearly identifies a major policy failure by Government which has imposed a disproportionate part of the ‘hit’ for current budgetary adjustments on Ireland’s poor and vulnerable people. 

  1. The Government’s new child poverty target could be reached while child poverty continues to grow!
  2. No target set to reduce the numbers of ‘working poor’ - means major group continues to be ignored in practice.

The Government has just published the National Reform Programme 2012 Update for Ireland which contains, amongst other information a revised poverty target under Ireland’s commitments to the Europe 2020 Strategy.

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