Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection Willie O’Dea TD has commented on the latest UNICEF report, published today, saying it underscores the need to address the issues of child poverty and deprivation in Ireland.

Commenting on the report, Deputy O’Dea said: “While Ireland ranks 7th out of 41 countries across all dimensions of inequality measured in the report, it nevertheless highlights a number of significant failings that need to be addressed.

“The level of child deprivation for example is unacceptable with almost 30% of children experiencing deprivation.  This means that children are going without essentials that are considered a normal part of everyday life.

“Poverty and deprivation has long-term negative consequences for a child affecting their future outcomes and it is evident from the findings of this report that too many children are being left behind. This situation is only facilitating and contributing to a fractured and divided two-tiered society and it is a situation that we cannot allow to continue.

“It is apparent that fairness and equality must underpin the policies of the next Government. We must narrow the inequality gap and work towards creating a fairer society and an Ireland for all. Five regressive budgets introduced by Fine Gael & Labour caused significant hardship to low income households and their children.”