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Sunday 4 December 2016

People in poverty treated like 'numerical units' says Higgins

Published 18/10/2016 | 02:30

President Higgins: As a nation we are failing to 'display the necessary spirit of democracy'. Maxwells
President Higgins: As a nation we are failing to 'display the necessary spirit of democracy'. Maxwells

People living in poverty are being treated like "numerical units", according to President Michael D Higgins.

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President Higgins expressed his shame over the state of direct provision centres, as well as the use of hotels to accommodate homeless families.

Speaking at an event in Dublin City to mark the UN International Day for the Eradication of poverty, President Higgins said we as a nation are failing to "display the necessary spirit of democracy".

"I must say very directly. When people living in poverty are treated as numerical units or administrative cases," he said.

"When they are forced to jump multiple and difficult hurdles in order to claim financial benefits to which they are entitled.

"Too many occasions when they are required to navigate their way around overly complicated procedures.

"Layers of red tape in order to avail of vital services.

"When that happens we are insulting and demeaning those amongst us, who are guilty of nothing but living day in and day out below the poverty line."

The event also heard from individuals who have suffered from hardships linked to homelessness and drug addiction.

Irish Independent

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