The latest figures from the CSO, which reveal that over 730,000 people in Ireland are in poverty, is proof that Government policies to tackle disadvantage are failing, according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection Willie O’Dea.
The CSO figures for 2011, which were published yesterday and a report from Caritas International highlight the struggles families are facing just to survive. Deputy O’Dea has called on the Government to revise its approach to tackling the crisis.
“The latest figures by the CSO reinforce my belief that the policies being pursued by this Government are regressive and counter productive,” said Deputy O’Dea.
“We already know that the ESRI described Budget 2012 as the most regressive since the economic crash happened. The Irish League of Credit Unions have informed us that 1.5 million people have less than €50 a week to spend once all essential bills have been paid. The evidence is there for everyone to see, families are barely surviving.
“Minister Joan Burton decided that families should be forced to bear a harder burden, with her cuts to Children’s Allowance, the Back to School Allowance and Maternity Benefit. The Government now plans to introduce an unfair property tax to put further pressure on already struggling families; despite our appeals, there are no exemptions from families in mortgage arrears and ability to pay will not be taken into account when bills are being prepared.
“In our budget submission, Fianna Fáil put forward proposals that would have reached the deficit target without unfairly penalising families. Our budget would have let people who can pay more do so. Without proper explanation, the Government refused to take any of these proposals on board.”