Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection Claire Kerrane TD has warned that families must be protected to ensure they are not forced into poverty due to the economic crisis.
Her comments follow the publication of figures by the Economic and Social Research Institute estimating that child poverty could increase sharply unless there is some economic recovery this year.
Teachta Kerrane said: “This report serves as a stark warning of the serious and far reaching repercussions of the economic crisis. These estimates are deeply alarming and highlight how ordinary workers and families must be protected to ensure that they are not forced to shoulder the burden of austerity in the months and years ahead.
“The current child poverty rate is already far too high at 16%. Projections by the ESRI that this figure could rise to 21% by the end of this year are deeply concerning.
“No child should be subjected to the indignity and distress of a childhood in poverty. Children cannot be allowed to become collateral damage in the economic crisis.
“The Government must act urgently and robustly to ensure that vulnerable families receive sufficient financial support to protect their incomes in the difficult time ahead.”