Too many Government policy decisions fail to put people at their heart, says the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP).
“Consequently it is the vulnerable; those who rely on state support, the ill, the disable and those in work who struggle with limited financial resources, who suffer, said SVP National President Geoff Meagher.
He was speaking prior to the launch of a new book about the SVP, ‘The Society of St Vincent de Paul in Ireland -170 years of fighting poverty’. (Launched at O'Connell House, 58 Merrion Square, Dublin 2 tonight Wed. 5th Nov. at 6.30pm)
This book explains how SVP came to play such a major part in Irish life through many turbulent periods and change. It shows how it has remained true to its ethos and values while providing practical help to those most in need. And how it continues to be a pivotal organisation in the lives of so many Irish families and at the same time driving the fight for social justice.
Mr. Meagher said that alongside the Irish Water debacle the lack of people-centred policy decisions are exemplified by two further reports published in the past week. “The UNICEF report on child poverty in Ireland which puts Ireland near the bottom of 41 countries is intolerable. In the past six years the proportion of children suffering from poverty in Ireland has risen from 18% in 2008 to 28.6% in 2012. How did this happen? It happened as the direct result of political and economic choices taking precedence over people despite pleas from organisations such as SVP. In Dublin alone this year over 700 children have been in families that have lost their homes.”
“The second study published this week shows that women whose children have emigrated in recent years have experienced an increase in depressive symptoms and loneliness. The report from Trinity College Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing found that almost 13% of 2,911 parents whose children were living in Ireland in 2010, had seen at least one child emigrate within the following two years.” said Mr Meagher.
He was also critical of policies which sees energy costs for families rising while at the same time the cost of raw materials is reducing for suppliers. “You have to ask why the regulation process always appear to favour suppliers, many large and profitable companies, at the expense of people”.he said.