Social Justice Ireland report claims 700,000 Irish live in poverty

Friday, April 13th, 2012

A new report published this week by Social Justice Ireland (SJI) has claimed that one sixth of the population in Ireland is living in poverty.

The report says that the government and policy makers should acknowledge that Ireland has an ongoing poverty problem and that the social welfare system is not fit for purpose. 

The report recommends that the Government should move towards increasing the total tax take to 34.9% of GDP by broadening the tax base.

The report, entitled, Shaping Ireland's Future, analyses the economic factors facing the Irish public and current Government's policies.  It finds that more than 700,000 people are living in poverty in Ireland, 200,000 of whom are children, and that having a job is not a guarantee that one lives in a poverty free household. 

The report found that the poorest 10% of households in Ireland have an average disposable income of €210 a week compared to an average disposable income of €2,276 a week for the richest 10% of households. 

It claims that Ireland can increase its tax take and remain a low tax economy.  Third level fees and student loans based on salary after graduation are also proposed in the report.

Commenting on the report, the Director of Social Justice Ireland Fr Sean Healy said, “The government needs to adopt a strategy of making large scale job-creation interventions into the labour market to help combat the problem of 30% youth and 14% national unemployment.” 

The report also points out that emigration from Ireland has tripled since 2008 with 40,200 people leaving in the past 12 months alone. 

According to Fr Healy, “The austerity programme is contributing to Ireland’s loss of young people, the implications of which are stark as their loss will pose significant problems for economic recovery.  The emigration brain drain which is been heralded perversely in some quarters as a safety valve is in fact a serious problem for Ireland any may well lead to a skills deficit in the long-term.”

by Sean Ryan