20th February 2020
We, the undersigned, call on the incoming government to prioritise the elimination of child poverty in any programme for government. Too many children in Ireland experience poverty. We see the impact of such poverty every day, on school attendance, academic achievement, participation, social engagement and educational aspirations.
Supporting children and young people to stay in school and supporting their performance and attainment is crucial to tackling child poverty and social inequality. However, large classes sizes, poverty and homelessness make it very difficult for children to properly engage at school. Too many children travel long distances every day from their emergency accommodation to their school. Too many children don’t have access to laundry facilities or a hot nutritious meal at school. Too many children are struggling without access to emotional supports and counselling.
We need a clear cross-departmental strategy and increased investment to prioritise children’s rights to decent housing, healthcare, free education and comprehensive youth services.
We are asking both Government and members of the 33rd Dáil to make the right choices for children to ensure that Ireland is a country where every child, regardless of their circumstance, can reach their full potential.
Suzanne Connolly, CEO, Barnardos
Tanya Ward, CEO, Children’s Rights Alliance
Dr Paul Downes, Director, Educational Disadvantage Centre
Pat Dennigan, CEO, Focus Ireland
John Boyle, General Secretary, Irish National Teachers’ Organisation
Kieran Stafford, National President, Society of St. Vincent de Paul