Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Willie O’Dea TD has said that the Minister for Social Protection, Regina Doherty’s admission that the child poverty target may not be met demonstrates the lasting effects of the harsh and punitive measures introduced by her Party.

O’Dea made his comments following a response to a tabled parliamentary question on the issue in which the Minister admitted that the target to reduce child poverty by more than 100,000 children, or by two thirds of the 2011 rate by 2020, is ‘ambitious’ and ‘can’t be met.’

He commented, “While I acknowledge that there has been a reduction in the number of children experiencing consistent poverty, the reality is that they are still the proportion of our society trapped in the highest rate of consistent poverty. They also face the highest rate of deprivation and are most at risk of poverty.

“There is no escaping the fact that for far too many children in this country there is no recovery and indeed the thousands of children living in emergency accommodation is clear evidence of this.

“Shamefully, there is now a large cohort of children whose childhood is being blighted by poverty and social exclusion. Ireland presents little opportunity for our vulnerable children caught in poverty and deprivation.

“The Minister’s stark admission that the target to reduce the current number may not be met is a forewarning that this is set to be yet another broken promise, another target not met by the Fine Gael party.

Deputy O’Dea concluded, “The Taoiseach’s slogan a ‘Republic of Opportunity’ is just another example of spin that rings hollow when one considers their poor record on addressing Ireland’s rate of child poverty.”