TWO TRADE UNIONS have today called on the government to provide support to organisations giving food assistance to people around the country so they can meet the demand on their services this Christmas.
Today Mandate and Unite released a map with a county-by-county breakdown of food poverty in the country, to highlight this demand.
The map shows Dublin fares worst with 112,300 people suffering food poverty. Larger counties like Cork and Galway follow close behind, with 50,500 and 25,300 people in need of assistance respectively.
Nationally, one in ten people suffer food poverty.
“Food poverty means that someone missed a meal in the last fortnight because of a lack of money,” Mandate general secretary John Douglas said. “It may mean they cannot afford a meal with meat or the vegetarian equivalent every second day or afford a roast or vegetarian equivalent once a week.”
Those suffering food poverty may be lone parent families; they may be the newly unemployed; they may be pensioners – and they may be people in work, struggling to survive on low wages.
Today the unions demanded that the government provide “immediate aid” of €10 million to organisations offering food assistance and to reverse cuts to low income groups in the new year.
They also called for an increase in the minimum wage – something the country has not seen since 2007.
“Poverty in Ireland today is part of a policy-made disaster – austerity, and the collapse in incomes it has brought in its wake,” commented Unite regional secretary Jimmy Kelly. “The figures released by Unite and Mandate show that food poverty is a reality in every county in Ireland.”