Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection and Social Equality has said the deep-rooted inequalities in the Government’s budget last year must be acknowledged and tackled as a matter of urgency as the number of people falling into poverty rises.
Deputy O’Dea was responding to a report from Social Justice Ireland which revealed that poorer households are feeling the worst effects of budget cuts.
Deputy O’Dea said: “It was clear very early on from last year’s budget that the most vulnerable in our society were disproportionately hit and that the budget was more regressive than any of the previous four years. Cuts to disability payments, children’s allowance, the Domiciliary Care Allowance, the One Parent Family payment and Community Employment Schemes have all impacted on those most in need of support. While at the same time there was little or no impact on sections of society more able to bear the burden.
“Long-term unemployment is the greatest crisis facing our society at the moment and it is crucial that the Government take immediately steps to get people off the Live Register and into employment.
“The Government needs a comprehensive strategy to tackling poverty but in the first instance this will require Fine Gael and Labour to not hit the most vulnerable when they can least afford to take the hit. It is essential that spending reductions are managed properly and that schemes which families in difficulty depend on are protected.”