Irish Republican News · December 10, 2003
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Irish poverty doubled in last ten years - report

A major new report from the Economic and Social Research Institute has found that relative poverty in the 26 Counties has more than doubled since 1994, while the depth of poverty being experienced has increased substantially.

Relative income poverty is defined as living on an income of less than 50 per cent of the average.

The authors of the report describe as ``striking'' the increasing risk of relative poverty for older people, particularly older women, the ill or disabled and those tied to the home such as single mothers.

With inflation at high levels, social welfare recipients fell further into relative poverty.

While incomes have increased, the proportion of people on incomes less than 50 per cent of the average has more than doubled since 1994. It has grown from 6 per cent in 1994 to 8.6 per cent in 1997, 9.9 per cent in 1998, 12 per cent in 2000 and 12.9 per cent in 2001.

`` reveals how poorly this Government is dealing with the depth and continuing existence of poverty in Ireland,'' said the Green Party's spokesman on social and family affairs, Dan Boyle.

There were further clashes yesterday in the Dublin parliament over the changes in social welfare payments, accounced last week in the annual budget speech.

Sinn Fein's Dublin South West TD Sean Crowe pointed to the failure of the Government to deliver its own promises in Child Benefit and Unemployment Assistance saying, ``No one dependent on social welfare will benefit greatly from this budget. It tinkered at the edges and brought no positive changes for the majority of people living in this State.''

Deputy Crowe went on to point out that children and young people had fared worst in this budget. He accused Minister Coughlan of refusing to increase the Child Dependent Allowance -- a social welfare payment aimed at the children from the poorest homes -- because ``she claimed any increase would be a disincentive to work and would ensure social welfare recipients remained on the dole, saying that they would rather be unemployed than give up the few bob provided by the allowance.''

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© 2003 Irish Republican News