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Poverty

The poverty rates for single person households have risen notably in the last decade, while they have fallen or remain more-or-less static for others. Increased poverty for those living alone is keeping Ireland's poverty rates high and presents a policy challenge for government.

More than 689,000 people are living in poverty in Ireland, of which over 200,000 are children. Despite moderate improvements in poverty rates and numbers, which are very welcome, there are an extra 36,000 people living in poverty in Ireland today compared to a decade ago.

Today is International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. What did last week's Budget do to help eradicate poverty?

Brexit has the potential to even further reduce the living standards of Ireland's most vulenerable. A sudden increase in food prices will hit lower income households hardest. Here's why.

Social Justice Ireland wishes our newly elected MEPs every success.  This is a pivotal time for the future of the European Union and MEPs play a key role in ensuring that social and environmental sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals are at the heart of Europe's future.   To this end we have formulated Five Key Policy Asks for our MEPs in conjunction with Trocaire. They are:

  1. The Elimination of Poverty
  2. The Championing of Climate Justice
  3. Policy Coherence on the SDGs
  4. Delivery on the European Pillar of Social Rights
  5. Supporting an international treaty on Business and Human Rights

Defined as a set of conditions where “individuals or households are not able to adequately heat or provide other required energy services in their homes at affordable cost”, energy poverty affects almost 50 million people in the European Union, according to a recent report from the European Energy Network.  In Ireland, the number of people who went without heat due to financial constraints in 2017 was almost 393,417 (CSO SILC, 2018).  Data released by Eurostat this week (21st May 2019) show that Ireland had the highest increase in gas prices and the fifth highest increase in electricity prices in the EU.  Without adequate measures to tackle the causes of fuel poverty, what next for families going without this basic necessity?

Next week, Social Justice Ireland and Trócaire will co-host a hustings event for the Dublin constituency ahead of the European Elections on May 24th. Ahead of this, we have formulated a joint policy platform, with Five Key Policy Asks. They are:

  1. The Elimination of Poverty
  2. The Championing of Climate Justice
  3. Policy Coherence on the SDGs
  4. Delivery on the European Pillar of Social Rights
  5. Supporting an international treaty on Business and Human Rights

In our Poverty Focus published this week, Social Justice Ireland looked at the impact of poverty, in particular child and family poverty.  Over 230,000 children are living at risk of poverty in Ireland today.  Studies undertaken since the mid-1990s indicate that the prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) has a direct relationship on the causes of death and chronic health issues in adults, with some evidence suggesting it alters a child’s DNA if not addressed in time.  While child poverty is not of itself an ACE, there is a correlation between poverty and ACEs which, if ignored, can affect a child’s whole life.

Living in poverty is a reality for one in five children in Ireland.  This means that around 230,000 children in Ireland are living in families with incomes below the poverty line.  This is one of the main findings from Poverty Focus 2019.  How long more can we afford to ignore these children and their living standards?  This issue can be addressed effectively.  Child poverty can be eliminated.

Ireland has agreed to produce an indicator of persistent poverty, measuring the proportion of the poulation those living below the poverty line in three of the last four years. These measures have yet to materialise, depriving us of the information that should be used as the primary basis for setting poverty targets and monitoring changes in poverty status.

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