The poverty rate in Ireland has been increasing since the recession in 2008. Along with poor health and economic inequalities, unemployment has been a huge factor contributing to poverty in Ireland.
Top 10 Facts About Poverty in Ireland
- Almost 800,000 people in Ireland live in poverty despite the improved economy: According to the Irish Times, although the economy is doing well, the people are not. Children make up a quarter of a million of the 790,000 people living in poverty in Ireland today.
- The “working poor” make up 105,000 of those in poverty: According to Social Justice Ireland, 18 percent of the adults in Ireland are working, but their salaries aren’t enough to afford the basic necessities for themselves or their families.
- Poverty is worse in rural areas: In Ireland, in the Border, Midlands and West regions there is a much higher number of those living in poverty. In fact, the Eastern and Southern regions of Ireland fewer than 50 percent of the people per capita live in poverty when compared with their rural counterparts.
- The rent in Ireland has increased: The rent in Ireland is six times the average rate of other European countries. Poor families aren’t able to afford the basic necessities let alone a house with inflated rent despite the Housing Assistance Payments provided by the government. New plans are being considered to work to solve the issue.
- The gender gap is a large cause of women in poverty: Women often have to work in lower paying, sometimes temporary jobs. During the recession men in working families saw a 9 percent pay decrease, but women saw 14 percent. When coupled with the fact that women were already making less money than men, this cut only made the situation worse.
- Single parents are more at risk: Single parents, of whom 84 percent are women, face some of the highest childcare costs in Europe, making it extremely difficult to work for a livable wage and take care of the family. The organization One Family is working to help alleviate poverty for single-parent families in Ireland. They hope to reduce poverty rates and create legislation to help support all families as well as bring recognition to the complications that single-parent families must face.
- Ireland’s Deprivation Gap has increased over time: Ireland has a significant and still increasing gap in deprivation between vulnerable adults (single parents and those with disabilities) and other adults in society. Between 2004-2015, Ireland’s showed the largest increase in its deprivation gap out of the 11 EU countries.
- The United Nations is working to help with the problem: The director of Social Justice Ireland was invited by the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs to be part of a meeting on “Strategies for Eradicating Poverty to Achieve Sustainable Development for All.” This was held at The United Nations in New York in May 2017. This group of experts was brought together to make policy recommendations to help reduce poverty.
- Social justice Ireland is helping with Five Outcomes to reduce poverty: Social Justice Ireland is an organization working to create a stronger, sustainable future in Ireland. The group wants to help face the issues by setting out goals for the government to achieve. Its view for a better future involves “a vibrant economy, decent services and infrastructure, just taxation, good governance and sustainability.” In April 2018, the government launched The Sustainable Development Goals National Implementation Plan 2018-2020. This plan highlights 19 high-level actions that will promote awareness, participation, support and policy alignment to achieve sustainable goals for Ireland’s future.
- Despite the poverty, the economy is doing well: The Irish economy has been recovering since the recession of 2008 and has had time to grow. Since 2017, 55,000 jobs were created. Also, in 2018, Ireland saw a 4 percent growth in the economy. Although many are still in poverty, the creation of new jobs can help many struggling. One way the government is working to provide jobs is through energy reform. By alleviating energy poverty, the government would not only provide energy and fuel to poverty-stricken areas but also could create an estimated 3,200 jobs per year over the 15-year plan.
The poverty rates in Ireland have increased despite the some of the progress in the economy. The main reasons seen in the top 10 facts about poverty in Ireland can be solved by new government policies. Organizations like Social Justice Ireland are doing their best to help bring awareness of these policies to the government and the U.N. to build a better future for Ireland.
– Negin Nia