People living in poverty face impossible decisions about money, which bill will be paid and which will remain unpaid, what will and won’t be purchased, the level of debt a household will take on in order to make ends meet. Poverty causes significant harm to the wellbeing, physical and mental health, of families and individuals. It damages communities, wider society, and the economy. It is estimated that the annual public service cost of poverty to Ireland each year is almost €4.5bn.
Addressing poverty and inequality requires a whole-of-Government, rights-based approach, based on fairness, dignity, and respect. Our public services and supports must acknowledge and respond to the complexities of poverty, along with the systematic and institutional failures that embed poverty within our communities.
Anyone with an income which is less than 60% of the median (or middle) income is referred to as being either relatively poor or ‘at risk of poverty’. Incomes in households are weighted depending on the number of adults and children to arrive at the disposable income for each individual. In 2019, 12.8% of the population were living below the poverty line (at risk-of poverty) of €14,723 per annum or €275.72 per week.
Poverty Watch Main Findings
Most Affected Groups
Lone parents and their children
People with disabilities
Households with anyone with paid work
People of a minority ethnic background
- Fast-track the implementation of the commitment to a new national programme which provides adequate and sustainable core funding for autonomous community development organisations as per the aims of the 2019 Government strategy “Sustainable, Inclusive and Empowered Communities”- a 5-year strategy to support the Community and Voluntary Sector.
- Ensure that employment services developed under the new Pathways to Work strategy are community based, adequately resourced, and
non-profit, adopting a holistic, and person-centred approach with a specific focus on marginalised communities and groups most
distant from the labour market, leading to quality jobs and a living
- Adapt an integrated and whole of Government approach to updating and developing strategies and policies specific to communities and groups at risk of poverty, focusing not only on access to employment but also on the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on women, young people, and marginalised groups.
- Develop policies via consultation that seek to dismantle the barriers experienced by marginalised groups in their engagement with services and supports, that help address and prevent poverty and social exclusion, such as access to the housing market, income adequacy, health inequalities, domestic violence
supports, education, for groups and communities at greatest risk of poverty.
- Ensure the full implementation of recommendations within The Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities.
- Develop social welfare policy that focuses on
income adequacy as a means of preventing poverty including a commitment to benching marking social welfare payments at a level that is adequate to lift people above the poverty line and provide them with a Minimum Essential Standard of Living.
- Fast track the introduction of the Living Wage
as per the Programme for Government and the
Economic Recovery Plan. This must meet the
standard of the Living Wage Technical Group
which is €12.90 in 2021-2022 for a single person working full time.
- Increase investment for the provision of direct
build social and affordable housing with a differential rent, for the entire duration of the Housing for All plan, as provided by Local Authorities and Approved housing bodies, for the benefit of households most likely to be at risk of poverty and experiencing homelessness.
- Ensure that Housing Assistance Payments are aligned with market rent increases.
- Ensure a poverty and equality impact assessment on Housing for All and recent relevant housing legislation and policy to prevent against unintended negative consequences for those in society most marginalised.
- Accelerate the implementation of Sláintecare,
with adequate investment and resources, as part of ensuring a single-tiered universal health
care system that aims to facilitate affordable, quality, and efficient access to health services,
with a focus on reducing health inequalities for
those on low incomes and within marginalised
- Fast track the introduction of socio-economic
status as the 10th ground for discrimination in
Irish equality legislation.
EAPN Ireland notes that rates of poverty have not returned to 2008 pre-crisis levels, with worrying trends of high poverty levels amongst specific groups. In addition, two major events caused for an increasing level of concern: Covid-19 and the Brexit. 2020 will thus be a challenging year for the Irish government to make poverty numbers decline.
Poverty Watch Main Findings
Most affected groups
Single adult households under 65
Single parent households
People with disabilities or illness
Travelling community, migrant communities, asylum seekers & homeless people
- The right to healthcare for all
- The right to housing for all
- The right to education for all
- The right to legislative protection from discrimination: socio-economic status
- The right to empowered and active community development organisations
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E-mail: enquiries (@ ) eapn.ie