Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Religious group demanding Ireland action on poverty

An interfaith group in Ireland is demanding government action on poverty. The group called The Conference of Religious in Ireland wants the government to do more to help the working poor. Ireland has witnessed a big increase in it's unemployment rate in recent months.

More on the statements from CORI from this article in the Irish Times.

Although welcoming a fall in poverty levels, Cori Justice Committee director Fr Sean Healy said the number of working households struggling financially had risen.

CSO data published today show the number of people claiming jobless benefits rose to 327,861 last month. The unemployment rate is now 9.2 per cent.

“Cori Justice notes that Government has said it is committed to protecting the most vulnerable in these difficult economic times,” Fr Healy said. “If it is to do this credibly then Cori Justice now urges Government to take initiatives to tackle the working poor issue, the rising level of unemployment and issues such as food poverty that were not addressed in Budget 2009.”

He said 31.3 per cent of households deemed at risk of poverty are headed by a person with a job, up slightly on the 29.5 per cent figure for 2006.

Cori accused the Government of failing to take the necessary steps to tackle the working poor issue, or using the Celtic Tiger boom years to roll out essential services. It also said more than half of all those at risk of poverty live in households headed by people outside the workforce, including those who are elderly, ill, in a caring role or have a serious disability.

Fr Healy also called on the Government to make additional resources available to support households at risk of poverty by boosting welfare and to continue benchmarking the lowest social welfare rates at 30 per cent of gross average earnings. He demanded improved social services, including education, health, childcare, housing and transport.

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