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Author: Rose McGowan
Category: Blog

Budget 2024: I am asking that you look after people who have too many needs and not enough rights

The last eighteen months have been an incredibly difficult time for those that seek our help and a very busy time for our Members right across the country. With sky-high food and energy prices, household budgets are already stretched beyond their limits, leaving people with little options on what to prioritise.  

We have seen the positive impact of Government supports through the cost of living crisis but they are sticking plasters for long term and deeper issues. Even before this crisis, people were battling a rising tide of high rents, growing bills, educational disadvantage, and often juggling health conditions, work and caring responsibilities. 

Next year, will mark 180 years since the Society was established here in Ireland. While there are many reasons to be proud of the progress Ireland has made over the years, the issues and solutions we outline in this year’s pre-budget submission bring into sharp focus why we need to continue to work for social justice and seek inspiration from the words of our founder Blessed Frederick Ozanam. 

Rising child poverty remains a significant concern for our Members. Almost 70% of the 230,000 calls we received last year were from households with children. We know all too well that children living in poverty are more likely to have poor educational outcomes, and risk becoming early school leavers who will face the prospect of living out their lives excluded and unable to fulfil their potential. We all want to live in a society where every child is supported to be the best they can be, and with the right policy measures Government can make a difference. 


Child Poverty Unit

The new Child Poverty Unit in the Department of an Taoiseach has the potential to break the cycle of poverty but it will require a number of Budgets focused on the needs and rights of children living in disadvantaged circumstances. The recent progress on education costs must be built upon and expanded to address issues like family homelessness, education costs at second level, support for children with additional needs, and access to affordable, quality childcare. 

At the same time as supporting children we need to make sure the right supports are there for people when they need them – whether that is in retirement, out of work due to illness or disability, caring for loved ones or when experiencing unemployment. This year’s Budget must focus on protecting people’s incomes, promoting access to good quality jobs and preventing poverty through affordable quality services. 

Rose McGowan
SVP Honorary National President

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