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Friday 29 August 2014

Labour MEP 'disturbed' at policy

Published 14/02/2013 | 12:06

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Nessa Childers said she feels disturbed by some of the Government's austerity measures

A Labour MEP has revealed she is disturbed by some of her party's austerity measures in government.

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Nessa Childers spoke out as she launched a report that claimed the poor and vulnerable have been unfairly attacked in government cuts and tax hikes across Europe.

The study revealed there are higher levels of child poverty, youth unemployment and long-term unemployment in five countries bailed out during the economic crisis - Ireland, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Elsewhere, poverty among the employed was highest in Ireland standing at 14.2%, it found.

"I would say ashamed is too strong a word, I would be disturbed by some of the things I see happening in the Irish Government and presided over by the Labour Party," Ms Childers said. "I am not a member of the Irish Government but I consider it my responsibility to attempt to influence those policies because I represent people in Ireland as well out in Europe."

Sean Healy, director of Social Justice Ireland, said his study shows austerity policies implemented in countries in crisis has disproportionately impacted on people who are poor and vulnerable, while failing to address the huge levels of unemployment. He called for people to be put ahead of financial institutions and for the common good to be put at the heart of economic policies.

The report - The Impact of the European Crisis - is the first to provide an in-depth examination of the impact current policies are having on people in the EU countries worst effected by the economic crisis. It was carried out for Caritas Europa, a network of 49 social justice and Catholic charities.

The report, launched in the European Parliament offices in Dublin, found unemployment reached an historically high level of 25.7 million people - 10.6% of the labour force - in Europe in September 2012, with youth unemployment standing at over 50% in Spain.

It recommended that economic and social policies be integrated at EU level, and for stronger leadership at EU level to address the risk of poverty being experienced by particular groups.

Elsewhere it wants social monitoring in place for countries in EU/IMF Programmes, EU Funds to play a bigger role in addressing poverty and for the EU to increase the involvement of civil society organisations in governance.

Press Association

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