Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection, Willie O’Dea TD has said that today, the UN Day for the Eradication of Poverty, should act as a as a reminder to us all of the many issues that Ireland is facing and of the need to do more to tackle poverty and social exclusion.

“In many respects Ireland is a wealthy country, but it is also a country that is deeply divided with thousands of people experiencing poverty and social exclusion.

“We have appalling rates of poverty amongst certain groups. For example, 59% of lone parent households experience deprivation, and over 2,300 children are sleeping in emergency accommodation every night,” added O’Dea.

“While the economy has turned a corner and Budget 2017 contained small number of welcome measures for low income groups, many people are yet to feel the benefits of the economic recovery and are still struggling to make ends meet.”

“Minister Varadkar’s acknowledgement that Budget 2017 was the first ‘fair and socially just’ budget in years is extremely welcome.

Five punitive and regressive budgets, introduced by Fine Gael and Labour, have left entire sections of Irish society under severe financial pressure.

“One fair budget from Fine Gael won’t undo the damage of the past five years. Fine Gael still has a long way to go before they the pain and hardship they caused is erased.”

“Every effort must be made to tackle poverty and social exclusion and ensure that everyone can participate in society, not just the privileged few.”

“The Government has a long way to go but Fianna Fáil will continue to give voice to the thousands of families who need better support and access to opportunities to break the cycle of poverty,” concluded O’Dea.