[Sinn Fein]

17 July 2001

ESRI reports shows that government has failed the poor

Sinn Féin South Dublin County councillor, Seán Crowe, responding to the latest findings of the ESRI, which shows that the gap between the rich and poor is growing called on the government to take immediate action to rectify the situation. Mr. Crowe said:

"The government should hang its collective-head in shame with the report from the ESRI which indicates that one in five people are living on below half the average income. Coupled with the recent UN Human Development report that was critical of the levels of poverty in Ireland it stands as a damning indictment of the government.

"This government more than any other in the history of this state has had an opportunity and the financial wherewithal to create a more just and equal society. In that they have failed spectacularly.

"They have neglected the most marginalised of our society while pursuing policies that have made millions of pounds for their friends in the elite of Irish business.

"The spectacle of Denis O'Brien and Tony O'Reilly slugging it out in an ego-driven battle for control of Eircom is the distasteful manifestation of such policies.

"The reality is that people on lower incomes languish on hospital waiting lists and children remain in overcrowded classrooms as housing lists and prices continue to grow because the government has failed to invest adequately in public housing, healthcare and education.

"The government during these years of economic boom has an onerous responsibility to ensure that the wealth created in this state is shared by all. Its priority must be to ensure that all are taken out of the poverty trap and given a proper standard of living." ENDS

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