Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Willie O’Dea has said that the scandal of food poverty is this Government’s inconvenient truth.

Deputy O’Dea was commenting after a recent analysis by the Society of Vincent de Paul (SVP) of requests made to last year showed that the most prevalent issue being reported is food poverty.

“Despite the trumpeting from the Government spinners of the supposed economic recovery, it’s clear that it is not being felt by all sections of society as new research shows that food poverty is still a major problem.

“One in three calls to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul are related to food poverty. This is quite a startling figure and underscores that despite the economic recovery thousands of people are unable to afford or access a nutritionally adequate diet.

“The painful reality is that in too many homes there are people who are unable to provide a nutritious meal for themselves or their children. It is quite shocking to think that in this day and age there are people in Ireland who are in this position. This is an issue that must be tackled as it as serious consequences in terms of health, obesity and poor educational outcomes for example.

“A laissez-faire approach by Fine Gael in government has, I believe, made this issue work. The Government cannot keep doing nothing.

“Fine Gael have been in Government for seven years and in that time they have presided over a homeless crisis of unprecedented proportions and have made no major inroads into reducing poverty and social exclusion. 16.5% of the population are at risk of poverty and 21% of the population are experiencing deprivation.

“1 in 9 children (11.1%) are in consistent poverty whilst a quarter of all children (25.2%) are experiencing deprivation and are going without basic necessities. These are the facts and Minister Doherty and her colleagues in Government must stop spinning and start delivering,” concluded O’Dea.