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A huge number of Irish adults are worried about not having enough money to buy food

A full third of Irish parents with young children are concerned about feeding their family.

Image: Shutterstock/Suzanne Tucker

FOOD POVERTY IS very much a problem for Irish adults currently.

Over a fifth (22%) of Irish men and women over-18 are worried about the amount of money they have to buy food, and the figure jumps to 33% for those with children of primary-school age.

This equates to over three quarters of a million Irish adults (778,000 people) being concerned about the money they have available to buy food.

The data comes from a new survey regarding food poverty in Ireland run by Kelloggs, which questioned 3,011 Irish adults and 408 teachers nationwide.

53% of teachers interviewed for the survey, titled Is The Food Divide Getting Bigger, said they have seen evidence of children arriving at school hungry at least once a week.

Worse still, a full 77% said they have seen incidences of children coming to school hungry increase in the last 12 months.

food Source: Kelloggs

The report’s chief conclusion is that the economic recovery is leaving those on lower incomes behind.

“More widespread availability of breakfast clubs is needed as they are a proven way to help tackle the issue of food poverty,” said June Tinsley of Barnardos, commenting on the survey’s findings regarding children being hungry at school.

Arriving to school hungry affects children’s behaviour and mood impacting on their ability to learn and enjoy interactions with classmates and teachers.

“The overall trend in expenditure on food has reduced since 2008, from a high of €7.95 billion, reflecting the fact that many people have suffered income losses and quite simply do not have as much money to spend on food or anything else for that matter,” says economist Jim Power.

The report contains several recommendations as regards what’s to be done to combat food poverty, including:

  • greater support for food banks and local charities
  • further funding for school meals programmes
  • greater emphasis on food education and teaching cooking skills

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