Deputy Michael Lowry has expressed serious concern over the growing incidence of poverty across the county and country and has called for the Government to urgently take action to assist those in need and to protect those who are currently under severe financial strain.
The Independent T.D. pointed to recent surveys and studies undertaken in the past number of weeks that show just how much individuals are affected and continue to be impacted by the economic downturn.
Deputy Lowry stated that;
“Recent studies prove the discoveries that I have been making over the last year in County Tipperary. Whilst travelling around the constituency and meeting individuals in my constituency office I have been overwhelmed by the hardship and difficulties facing families and individuals on a regular basis. Families are struggling to simply maintain basic needs, such as paying their mortgage, covering utility bills and paying for food. The reality is that once these are deducted from a pay check or a social welfare payment, there is little, if anything left. In many cases families are sacrificing everything that is not absolutely essential to survival, in order to maintain a roof over their heads. There is nothing left to save at the end of the week and no provision for a rainy day.”
“In the past week two studies have been published that prove that firstly, many individuals are no longer able to save anything after basic needs have been met while the second study published by Social Justice Ireland has indicated that the gap is widening between those at the top and poorer individuals. It is now believed that up to 1.8 million people have less that €100 per month left after bills are paid whilst 4 out of 10 people cannot afford to save anything. Disposable income is falling month on month which has a knock on effect on the economy.”
“These findings whilst alarming come as little surprise. In the past year families have been hammered with repeated cuts and increased costs in a variety of guises. These range from reductions in allowances, increased costs and new charges such as the household charge. The impact that these costs are having on our some of our most vulnerable should be taken into account by the Government. To date little has been done to tackle this issue or to turn the growing tide of poverty in this state. Charitable groups and organisations such as MABS are seeking to tackle these issues and offer advice but are overwhelmed by the case load and alone simply do not have the resources to provide assistance to everybody. The Personal Insolvency Bill is the only action that has been taking by the Government to date on this matter and that is grossly inadequate and does little to assist families under strain.