The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) has proposed a package of reforms beginning with the forthcoming budget that would lay the foundation for an Ireland without poverty.
Entitled ‘Foundations for an Equal Ireland’ the SVP submission includes proposals for further investment in education, housing, energy & climate justice, and income adequacy.
Its five main pillars for eliminating poverty are:
SVP says that these actions would put us on a path to deliver an Ireland where the quality of life for all is improved and where the experience of poverty is the exception, rather than the experience it is for hundreds of thousands of people right now.
In introducing the details of the SVP Pre-Budget Submission 2022 Rose McGowan, SVP National President said:
”We must not return to the pre-pandemic ‘normality’ where almost a quarter of children are experiencing deprivation; where thousands of people have nowhere to call home and many more are experiencing hidden homelessness doubling up with friends and family or living in poor quality housing; where over 240,000 people cannot afford to heat their homes and where a young person from a disadvantaged area has a less than one-in-seven chance of going to third level education.
“In a compassionate and just society, we put things right, not just now for those who need it but also in the future. Budget 2022 must lay the foundations to give everyone the opportunity to thrive.”
Dr Tricia Keilthy, SVP Head of Social Justice said; “The public health crisis has shown us how exhausting it can be to live in a survival mode all the time. For people in poverty this struggle started long before this pandemic. The impact of living in poverty is multi-dimensional, taking a physical, psychological, and social toll on the lives of children and adults.”
“For children, even short-term exposure to poverty can have a long-term impact. It can limit their opportunities and make it more difficult to realise their full emotional, educational, and social potential.”
“As well as being a moral imperative to tackle poverty we have strong evidence on the wider benefits to society and the economy if we can prevent poverty in the first place. ‘The Hidden Cost of Poverty’ report published last year put the estimated cost of poverty to the State at between €4.5 billion every year. That is more than the respective annual Government budgets for housing, justice, transport and agriculture.”
“The levels of poverty in Ireland prior to the pandemic and the uneven impact the pandemic has had on Irish society underlines the need for Government to pursue the right kind of recovery in Budget 2022. This requires increased upfront spending now, so that we can reduce expenditure on mitigating the effects of poverty in the long term”, she said.
Read full SVP Pre-Budget Submission