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Bishop says there can be over-reliance on Churches to provide when people are failed by social policy

He also said that families should not have to rely on charity to feed themselves.

Crosscare's 'Community Cafe' on Portland Row in Dublin, social care agency of the Dublin Archdiocese.
Crosscare's 'Community Cafe' on Portland Row in Dublin, social care agency of the Dublin Archdiocese.
Image: Laura Hutton via Photocall Ireland

BISHOP JOHN MCAREAVEY says the spread of food banks across the country “is an indictment of our society”.

He added that “individuals and families should not have to rely on charity to feed themselves and their families”.

Bishop John McAreavey is chair of the Council for Justice and Peace of the Irish Catholic Bishops Conference.

McAreavey stated that churches and human rights organisations have ‘common cause’ in working to address poverty and social inequality.

However he expressed concern that:

There can be an over-reliance on Churches to provide a safety net when people are failed by inadequate social welfare provision.

Social Policy

Bishop John McAreavey is calling for social policy, North and South, “to reflect the generosity that has been so evident in our local communities throughout the economic crisis of recent years”.

He said that the spread of food banks across the country shows a social need.

He also pointed out that many of the food banks have been set up by churches and faith-based groups.

McAreavey believes that while the people running these groups should be commended, the existence of food banks is not a good solution.

Food banks cannot be allowed to become a long-term institution.

He continued that “No one wants to see a situation where people are trapped in benefit dependency”.

However he also added that “there must be adequate safeguards to ensure that people can achieve an acceptable standard of living, in which their basic human rights are protected”.

He made the appeal in an address to the Conference of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Designate and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission on the theme ‘A Human Rights Approach to Tackling Poverty and Social Inequality’.

 

Read: Food banks to be set up across Ireland>

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