Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Sligo-Leitrim Senator Marc Mac Sharry says low income families have suffered the most as a result of a series of harsh and callous cuts imposed by this Government.  A recent Tax Strategy Group Report found that ‘there has been no progress on the national social target for poverty reduction’.

Senator Mac Sharry explained, “Under Fine Gael and Labour we have seen poverty rates double, with the latest stats from Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) revealing that he consistent poverty rate now stands at 8%.  This is a far cry from what Minister Joan Burton promised in the revised national social target for poverty, which was to reduce poverty levels to 4% by 2016 and to 2% by 2020.

“The Government’s failure to meet its own targets comes as no surprise.  Fine Gael and Labour have continuously targeted the most vulnerable in a series of regressive measures in successive budgets.  It is a fact that in every budget since 2011 the people who had the least gave the most.

“The policy choices made by this Government has fuelled a two-tier society. It cut the Fuel Allowance, the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance and the Household Benefits Package. Furthermore, they changed the eligibility criteria for the One Parent Family Payment and abolished the Telephone Allowance – all payments relied on by those on the lowest incomes.

“This Government’s legacy on core social issues is appalling.  It presided over a housing and homelessness crisis with 1 in 9 children in consistent poverty; 1600 in emergency accommodation; 59% of lone parents experiencing deprivation and 13.2% of the population in food poverty. This is not a record to be proud of”.