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1.3m people experiencing deprivation in Ireland

By editor - 29 November, 2015

Dr Sean Healy and Michelle Murphy of Social Justice Ireland.

Dr Sean Healy and Michelle Murphy of Social Justice Ireland.

Poverty is rising among children and pensioners as well as among carers and people with disability Social Justice Ireland has warned.

The justice advocacy organisation has also revealed that 1.3 million people in Ireland are experiencing deprivation, an increase of 650,000 since the Fine Gael-Labour coalition Government came to office in 2011.

“This means that almost 30% of Ireland’s population are deprived of basic essentials like a warm winter coat or adequate heating,” Dr Seán Healy, Director, Social Justice Ireland explained.

Over 440,000 of these are children, and about 85,000 are pensioners.

“Almost one in five children under age 18, and roughly one in ten people aged over 65, experienced deprivation. This is totally unacceptable” according to Dr Seán Healy, Director, Social Justice Ireland.

“These figures provide conclusive evidence that, despite what we are being told, Government policy has failed to protect our society’s most vulnerable, or to significantly ease their difficult circumstances,” he said.

According to Dr Healy, the Government did have choices but the choices it made produced five regressive budgets in a row which has resulted in three-quarters of a million people living in poverty in Ireland, up 55,000 since 2011 and 230,000 children are at risk of poverty – up 12,000 in a single year.

The Annual Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC), on which these numbers are based, was published today by the CSO.

“There are 755,570 living in poverty in Ireland. This is a rise of 55,000 since this Government came into office. Over 230,000 of these are children. The CSO study also shows that the number of people experiencing deprivation is extremely high,” Dr Healy warned.

“The poverty line has fallen from €11,113 in 2011 to €10,786 in this study. Yet, despite this fall, three quarters of a million people are subsisting on a meagre yearly income, and in a number of instances, are being deprived of basic essentials,” said Michelle Murphy, Research and Policy Analyst, Social Justice Ireland.

“This represents a huge challenge to Government and to Society,” she warned.

“Several successive regressive budgets are driving these trends,” Ms Murphy stated.

“Ireland is not a poor country. Social Justice Ireland has provided fully-costed alternatives which would have led to better outcomes, but the Government has chosen another direction. These statistics highlight the unfortunate outcome for many of our citizens.”

The CSO’s Annual Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) is a household survey covering a broad range of issues in relation to income and living conditions. It provides a number of key national poverty indicators, such as the risk of poverty rate, the consistent poverty rate and rates of enforced deprivation.

The CSO calculates a ‘poverty line’ which is 60% of median income, adjusted to take account of family size and composition.

The median income is the income of the middle person in society’s income distribution. In other words, it is the middle income in society. Irish data on poverty looks at those living below this 60% line.

Since 2007, the deprivation rate measures the number of people who are forced to go without at least 2 of 11 basic necessities, such as being able to afford new clothes, or heat their home.

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