The establishment of a Child Poverty and Well-being Programme Office in the Department of the Taoiseach was a key step towards delivering on the Taoiseach’s commitment "to make Ireland the best country in Europe to be a child". While this is a very welcome development, and one we look forward to being implemented, it is a development that needs to be underpinned by real strategic action. Child poverty does not exist in a vacuum. Children live in families, households, and societies. They are impacted by the physical environment in which they live.
At the National Economic Dialogue held in Dublin Castle in June 2023, both the Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance acknowledged that, even though it hadn’t been the Government’s intention, there were vulnerable populations who slipped further behind during the past year, and this would have to be rectified. Continuing with policies that push vulnerable people further into poverty is unacceptable.
Children are one of the most vulnerable groups in any society. Consequently, the issue of child poverty deserves particular attention. The current surplus of resources available to the Government represents a major opportunity to once and for all address this persistent and damaging problem.
This edition of Social Justice Ireland’s National Social Monitor does not attempt to cover all the possibilities and challenges posed by ending Child Poverty. This paper is offered as a contribution to the ongoing public debate.