When a child is lost, the world takes notice. Search parties are formed. Front-page stories are printed. Airports are closed. We are captivated by the terror. And we will all work hard to find that child because we know it’s important. However, 1 in 7 children in Ireland are already lost.1 We lose children every day to homelessness, to poverty, to neglect, to poor policy making, to waiting lists, to our unjust society which disregards children’s needs. These children are lost through no fault of their own and it is entirely
preventable. No child’s access to food, warmth, health care or education should be determined by how much money their parents have or where they live. We all have a responsibility to tackle these injustices; but it is Government’s responsibility to remove any barrier preventing children reaching their potential. Yet too often children are forgotten about in policy decisions. It has been ten years since the global financial crash which engulfed Ireland, plunging the country into the worst financial crisis in the history of the State. Ten years on and we are told the ‘green shoots’ of recovery have developed into a stronger than predicted economic growth.2 By adopting austerity policies the State may have ensured Ireland’s economy would be resurrected within the decade but it also guaranteed those hit hardest by the recession are those who are most vulnerable. Child poverty has risen exponentially during this time from 6.3 per cent of children in 2008 to 11.1 per cent of children in 2016. 3 In real terms the number of children who are living in consistent poverty has more than doubled during the last decade, with 73,679 more children in poverty in 2016 than in 2008.4 For a decade these children have been forgotten about, collateral damage of a financial crisis created before
they were even born. For many of the children growing up in the last decade it is too late to make up the years they have lost
to poverty, neglect and injustice. Budget 2019 can prevent more children being lost.
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