A report published today paints a disturbing picture of poverty, social exclusion and deprivation in west Dublin.
It reveals that nine out of 10 children living in the Tallaght West area experience fear of anti-social behaviour or crime.
The study, the first research of its kind in Ireland, Entitled ‘How are our kids?’, the study of population of Tallaght West says the majority of children are carrying a “disproportionate burden of the inequality and poverty characterising Irish society as a whole”.
More than one in four live in houses without adequate heating, and children express feeling cold and damp every day. Nearly one in three parents say they live in unsatisfactory environments for bringing up children.
The study was based on analysis of census data and surveys of a representative sample of parents of 187 children.
It was conducted by a British-based Social Research Unit and funded by the US-based philanthropic organisation Atlantic Philanthropies.
It finds that children’s development and learning are put at risk by a high level of adult depression, while half live in families dependent on State benefits.
According to the report, 10 per cent of people over the age of 15 in Tallaght West are unemployed, while one-third of households are headed by a lone parent.
It says 57 per cent of households are in local authority accommodation compared to a national average of 10.4 per cent.
It says 27 per cent of those who had ceased their education did so without any formal qualification, while 34 per cent had finished at Junior Cert level.
One in three children are being bullied at school, while 43 per cent missed between five and 20 days of school.
Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Sean Crowe said the report “confirmed what Sinn Féin has been saying about poverty levels in West Tallaght for a number of years”.
He said the statistics “should surprise no one”.
“It is ironic that just a few short days after a report by The Economist magazine entitled ‘The luck of the Irish’ which claimed that Ireland had leaped from being one of the poorest EU member states in the 1980’s to one of the richest today, that this latest report shows that many children in West Tallaght are living without adequate home heating.
“Let us be clear, many people in West Tallaght and indeed throughout this state feel alienated, excluded and let down by the authorities. The unprecedented levels of poverty, deprivation and anti-social behaviour are a direct result of the inequalities and inequities promoted by this, and successive governments.”