Unity Through Relationships Conference

(11 Nov 2014)

PRESS RELEASE

Numbers of children in crisis a damning indictment of Government

Quarter of children in poverty, homelessness out of control while policies fuel inequality

Call for a new vision to ensure social justice

Statement by Sr Stanislaus Kennedy

The fact that over a quarter of our children are living in poverty is a damning indictment of Government policies, Social Justice Campaigner, Sr Stanislaus Kennedy has warned in a speech at a conference in Dublin (Tues 11th Nov 2014).

Speaking at the ‘Unity Through Relationships Conference’, Sr Stan warned that cutbacks, a lack of frontline services and a housing crisis have created instability with children in the frontline.

The Founder of Focus Ireland and the Immigrant Council of Ireland told the gathering at the Regency Airport Hotel that there has been a radical increase in child poverty and child homeless in our society today.

“We must strive for a society where any child can grow up safe and well and take their place as a responsible and participating citizen. To achieve that we must recognise that the most basic and fundamental need for a family is a home.

It is sobering to realise that when we started in Focus Ireland in 1985 there were 4,500 people on housing waiting lists – now there are 100,000.  Homelessness is spiralling out of control, the figures have doubled during each of the past two years.

The crisis is growing, 45 families lose their home in Dublin every month. They are the hidden homeless, forced into Bed and Breakfasts and other emergency accommodation.

For 800 children in his accommodation breakfast time means packing up and moving out for the day – there is nowhere to keep school bags or toys, not even a wall to hang posters of their heroes.

Poverty is a reality in ever community in this country. Over a quarter of our children (28%) are live in families where making ends meet is a daily battle.

Alarmingly even the most vulnerable face instability and uncertainty. In 9,000 cases with abuse, neglect or welfare concerns no social worker has been appointed – in some cases children are left waiting on lists indefinitely.

The establishment of the Child and Family Agency Tusla has been heralded by politicians – but the agency is inadequately funded with warnings it will need a supplementary budget of €25m this year.

In light of these facts, how can we say we have learned the lessons of the Ryan report?

It is time to end the short term thinking which has been the hallmark of Irish politics – we must learn to think ahead and put in place structures which will support social justice for all our children.

This will require a seismic change in attitude towards our children – all must be cherished equally in practice, by the nation, the state, the church and the community and not just theoretically in the constitution.”



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© 2017 Sister Stanislaus Kennedy
  • The Sanctuary, Stanhope Street, Dublin 7, Ireland
  • Phone: +353 1 6705419
  • Fax:
  • Email: info.srstan@gmail.com

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