‘End The Dance Of Despair’



A homeless person sleeping rough in Temple Bar in November 2015

In forming a government, unlike Lanigan’s Ball, it is less important who is stepping in and out again and more important what policies they agree on. All of the parties to the current dance have explained, during the election, that their priority is to “protect the most vulnerable”, but now we need to turn this into detailed multi-annual policies to reduce poverty.

The first step is to recognise the shocking scale of the problem. The CSO has found that, between 2008 and 2013, the proportion of our people experiencing “deprivation” nearly trebled to 29 per cent. This means being unable to afford two from a list of items like heating your home or eating a substantial meal every second day, a very basic measure in the 21st century.

More than a third of children and one in five of people at work were classified as experiencing deprivation, while the picture is worse for groups like Travellers, lone parents, the long-term unemployed and the homeless.

For decades we have danced around in the same pattern. In boom times, people in poverty are left behind, while in more austere times the same groups suffer the most. Breaking this cycle will need a long-term commitment to policies and investments to provide adequate income, quality work and services, funded by sufficient and fair taxation.

There has been plenty of research and experience to show what makes the difference between a country with high and low levels of poverty. Nearly 20 years ago, the all-party National Anti Poverty Strategy pointed to most of the instruments needed. However, strategies alone don’t change the world; we need solid commitments in the programme for government to end the dance of poverty and despair.

Anne Loftus,
Robin Hanan,
European Anti-Poverty
Upper Ormond Quay,
Dublin 7.

Tackling poverty (Irish Times letter)

19 thoughts on “‘End The Dance Of Despair’

  1. Jake38

    “adequate income, quality work and services, funded by sufficient and fair taxation.” And therein lies the nub of the problem. How to agree what are adequate, quality, sufficient and that old catch all, “fair”. One mans “fair” is another mans “outrageous”.

    1. Vote Rep #1

      If people earn more than you are the ones taking up the tax slack, then it is fair is generally the way the Irish electorate view things.

    1. Elizabeth Mainwaring

      What about that Ahearn chappie from the northside? I thought he was responsible for all the last 7 years of horribleness? no?

      1. dav

        ah the old whataboutery, bertie was a thieving scum. but enda was/is at the helm when he allowed this to happen, he’s the guy in charge, he gets the blame. Got that blushirts?.

        1. Anomanomanom

          Your another moron who throws the old Blue shirt crap around, again moron. People who thinks Enda is not fully to blame are not all “blue shirts”.Maybe they just remember that Bertie is the worst leader we’ve ever had. And after gouging a nice pension jumped ship.

        2. Nigel

          Please simplify everything put of tedious personal animus some more before anyone gets interested in complexity, nuance and shared responsibility.

  2. rotide

    “The CSO has found that, between 2008 and 2013, the proportion of our people experiencing “deprivation” nearly trebled to 29 per cent”

    The legacy of a FF government that the people just voted back in.

    and so it goes

  3. Eoin

    It’s a side effect of neo-classical economics. It’s a side effect of the growing wealth divide. Look at the latest statistics about how many billionaires there are now and how much of the world they own. It’s stunning. How do we even begin to address a systemic problem like this?

  4. Cromuel

    You get what you vote for (always assuming the parties actually do what they promised before you voted for them).

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