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The Government has squandered a valuable opportunity to eliminate childhood poverty in Ireland by voting down a Social Democrats’ Private Members’ Motion tonight, according to Jennifer Whitmore TD, the party’s spokesperson for Children.

Deputy Whitmore said:

“The Government’s counter motion which was passed this evening is essentially a charter for guaranteeing that a certain number of our children will continue to live in consistent poverty. Their proposal for percentage-based targets simply acknowledge that a percentage of children still will stay in poverty. As recent history has shown, there is nothing ambitious about this.

“All attempts by previous governments to meet childhood poverty reduction targets have failed time and time again. Our motion asked this Government to show political leadership and ambition by setting out to eliminate, not reduce, poverty levels for children during the lifetime of this Dail.

“We proposed to achieve this objective through the establishment of an Oversight Oireachtas Committee and an inter-departmental Child Poverty Unit, overseen by the Department of the Taoiseach. By legislating for an end to consistent child poverty, we wanted to put children’s rights front and centre of policy decisions across all key Government departments.

“We would like to acknowledge the meaningful contributions made by other Opposition TDs who voted for our motion – including Sinn Féin, Labour, Solidarity-People Before Profit, Rural Independent Group, and Independents – as well as the support of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, One Family and Children’s Rights Alliance.

“Despite the lack of support for our motion from the three Government parties, the Social Democrats will continue to be a voice in the Dáil for over 90,000 children who are living in consistent poverty – we will not give up fighting on their behalf.”

September 30, 2020

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