CSO Survey Shows Biggest Drop in Consistent Poverty Since Recession
but Government needs to keep their foot on the pedal
Latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show that poverty rates are moving in the right direction for children and families. Approximately 8.8% of 0-17 year olds are living in consistent poverty, down from 10.9% since 2016. This appears to be the biggest drop since the recession and we estimate that this equates to almost 24,000 children lifted out of poverty.
Speaking on the launch of the CSO Survey, Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance said; “Too many children in Ireland are living with the shame of poverty. They learn not to ask their parents for anything. It affects their physical health, their mental health, their ability to focus in school and to participate in normal childhood experiences. The reality of living in consistent poverty means that children can’t afford to go to a friend’s birthday party or take part in after school activities. It also means that sometimes the heating isn’t switched on when families can’t afford it.
Tanya Ward continued, "The Government aims to lift over 100,000 children out of consistent poverty by 2020. The latest CSO figures show that increased employment and measures in the ‘Whole of Government Approach’ to tackling child poverty are starting to work. While additional measures in Budget 2019 particularly from Minister for Employment and Social Protection, Regina Doherty TD and Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD, will make a difference to children in 2019, child poverty must be a political priority. If the Government is to reach its target by 2020, we need to see radical measures from all government departments. Increased access to medical cards for children, free school books and hot meals in early years’ and school settings will help bring this figure down. We’ve lived for far too long with child poverty in Ireland. The time has come to eradicate it."
Notes to Editor:
• A household is consistently poor if the household income is below the 60% at-risk-of-poverty threshold and the household members are deprived of at least out of the 11 items on the basic deprivation list. The 11 basic deprivation indicators include: (1)Two pairs of strong shoes; (2) A warm waterproof overcoat (3) Buy new (not second-hand) clothes; (4) Eat meal with meat, chicken, fish (or vegetarian equivalent) every second day; (5) Have a roast joint or its equivalent once a week; (6) Had to go without heating during the last year through lack of money; (7) Keep the home adequately warm; (8) Buy presents for family or friends at least once a year; (9) Replace any worn out furniture; (10) Have family or friends for a drink or meal once a month; and (11) Have a morning, afternoon or evening out in the last fortnight for entertainment. Individuals who experience two or more of the 11 listed items are considered to be experiencing enforced deprivation.
• Tanya Ward, Chief Executive and Saoirse Brady, Legal and Policy Director are available for interview.
About the Children’s Rights Alliance
Founded in 1995, the Children’s Rights Alliance unites over 100 members working together to make Ireland one of the best places in the world to be a child. Further information is available at: www.childrensrights.ie or on Twitter, @ChildRightsIRL