Ending child poverty is a key objective of the National Children´s Strategy
Minister for Children launches End Child Poverty Coalition
Minister for State with Special Responsibility for Children, Mr Brian Lenihan TD, today launched the End Child Poverty Coalition. “The work of the seven national organisations in this coalition has been invaluable in the fight towards eliminating child poverty in Ireland” stated Minister Lenihan. “The National Children´s Strategy acknowledges that all children have a basic range of needs and that some children have additional needs and commits to the objective of eliminating child poverty’ he continued. The Minister outlined the objectives of the Government´s National Anti Poverty Strategy Building an Inclusive Society as:
- sustaining economic growth and employment,
- providing levels of income support to support personal dignity and avoid poverty and
- addressing the needs of the most vulnerable.
“This Government has established the Office of Social Inclusion and Social Inclusion Units throughout the country” declared Mr Lenihan. “At EU level, National Action Plans are being developed, which aim to radically improve the position of the most vulnerable in our society, including children” he continued. “It is critical that national and local government, social partners and NGO´s work together to ensure that the new National Action Plan will deliver improved social inclusion” added the Minister.
“Tackling poverty requires a range of supports and interventions at Government and community level” stated Minister Lenihan. “This Government puts child income support at the centre of the policy approach to addressing child poverty. We have invested heavily in Child Benefit since 1997” he continued. “Over the period to 2007, we are committed to reducing the number of children living in consistent poverty to below 2% – a figure that stood at 24% in 1994” added the Minister.
“The first Goal of the National Children´s Strategy is to give children and young people a voice” said Mr Lenihan. He explained that during the consultation for the Strategy, many children raised the issue of social poverty and the lack of play and recreation facilities. “Work is underway to address social poverty through providing children and young people with the facilities they need to participate fully in their own communities. The National Play Policy for children under 12, and the Recreation Policy for children over 12, will be published this year by the National Children’s Office” continued Mr Lenihan. “These policies will tackle the lack of opportunity to play and socialise currently being experienced by many children in Ireland. We have listened to the voices of children and young people and are taking action on the issues which they raised” concluded Mr Lenihan.