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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019
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Charities speaking in Leinster House have a bottom line: 'No more cuts'

Barnardos chief executive Fergus Finlay says that policy makers seem to ‘regard children as being the cause for the mess we’re in’.

Barnardos chief executive Fergus Finlay speaking before an Oireachts Committee this morning.
Barnardos chief executive Fergus Finlay speaking before an Oireachts Committee this morning.
Image: Screengrab

BARNARDOS HAS SAID that €450 million has been cut from family supports in austerity budgets over the past five-years.

Presenting the children’s charity’s pre-budget submission to an oireachtas committee this morning, Barnardos chief executive Fergus Finlay said that the cuts have come from successive governments but ‘principally the current government’.

Finlay said that children have paid a disproportionate share of what needs to be done in terms of budget adjustment. “It frequently seems to us at Barnardos that somebody, somewhere in charge of public policy regards children as being the cause of the mess we’re in,” he said.

A number of poverty and housing charities were presenting their pre-budget submissions to the Oireachtas Finance Committee this morning with each laying down a bottom-line that cuts to Government funded social services have to stop.

Focus Ireland’s Mike Allen told the committee that seven new people per day were registering as homeless with most cases ‘shockingly avoidable’.  He said that HSE funded homeless services have been continually cut at least once a year.

Allen added that social housing over the last number of years has been provided primarily by the private sector with the state then leasing these houses, a policy he said that had ‘failed’.

Allen added that the fact that several charities are in Leinster House asking for relief from cuts instead of an increase in funding demonstrates how austerity has left  the Government blind to the issue of poverty:

If they only thing we can say is, ‘Don’t make matters worse’,  is that where we’ve come from as a nation? Somewhere along the way through the trauma of the crisis we’ve been through, the state has brutalised and become incapable of recognising the damage they are doing to the persons within the state.

Read: Number of new homeless people rises by at least 7 a day >

Read: Government called on to address housing shortage in Budget 2014 >

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Rónán Duffy

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