The Government is set to miss its own target of cutting child poverty by one-third by 2020, Fianna Fáil welfare spokesman Willie O'Dea has warned.
e was commenting on data received from Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty, which indicates that in order to meet its own targets, 102,000 children will need to be lifted out of poverty inside the next three years. Fine Gael in Government had set a target to cut poverty among children by one-third between 2011 and 2020.
"The rate of child poverty in this country is nothing short of appalling, and at this stage the Government cannot convince me that it will meet its 2020 target," Mr O'Dea said.
He added that children were the highest at-risk group when it comes to poverty. He conceded that latest available data showed some improvements, but thousands of children continued to experience poverty and social exclusion.
"The story of child poverty in Ireland is clear for all to see - 11.5pc of children are in consistent poverty, 19.5pc of children are at risk of poverty and 31pc of children are experiencing deprivation," the Limerick City TD said.
He said six years of Fine Gael-led Government has seen cuts to services that directly affected some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
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He claimed that successive ministers had failed to get to grips with the spiralling homelessness crisis, which is a major feature of the problem, with increasing numbers of children now growing up in unsuitable accommodation.
Ms Doherty said her department was now focusing on early childhood development, youth exclusion, access to the labour market, migrant integration, social housing and affordable energy.