Understanding of Poverty in Ireland Today

Topics: Poverty, Unemployment, Mental disorder Pages: 5 (1617 words) Published: March 22, 2013
What is your understanding of poverty in Ireland today?
What would you identify as possible responces?

My understanding of poverty in Ireland today is that it is multifaceted and covers a range of social issues such as lack of education, social exclusion and marginalisation. In the main body of this essay I will discuss my understanding of poverty and put forward sever al responses to these issues. I will examine how people with physical disabilities and mental health problems, one parent families, the unemployed and members of the travelling community are more susceptible to poverty.

Firstly I’d like to define the two main types of poverty in Ireland today which are as follows. Consistent poverty and secondly Relative poverty/at risk of poverty. People in consistent poverty have a combination of relative income poverty with relative deprivation. This means having an income below 60% of the median and also experiencing enforced deprivation. This means being on a low income and not being able to aff ord basic necessities such as new clothes, not having the money to buy food such as meat or fish, not being able to heat your home, or having to go into debt to pay ordinary household bills. Approximately 5% of people in Ireland fit into this category. People in Relative poverty. This means having an income that is below 60% of the median income (the median is the mid-point on the scale of incomes in Ireland). In 2010, that was an income of below €207.57 a week for an adult. Whilst people who fall into this category may be able to pay their rent they may not be able to cover the costs of utility bills or perhaps not be able to afford to go out for a meal once a month or to participate socially. Approximately 15% of people in Ireland fall into this category. According to the Combat Poverty Agency the people most at risk from poverty in the following order are lone parents, the unemployed, people with disabilities or mental health problems, children and the elderly.

The effects of poverty in Ireland include social exclusion from normal activities leading to alienation preventing them from developing their skills and talents , lack of access to mainstream financial services which in some cases will lead to people using illegal mone y lenders who charge higher interest rates which in turn puts them in more debt, long term effects on their mental health leading in some cases to depression due to their lack of a sense of self worth or belonging and physical health problems due to bad nutrition, inability to gain well paid jobs, and in the case of children, bullying at school which in turn may cause depression or suicide or that they may drop out of school early.

Lone parents are 3 times more likely to be in poverty than the rest of society as a result of expensive childcare and lower levels of education which leads in turn to low paid work. They find it extremely difficult to access adequate childcare which in turn means they are unable to further their education. Also the financial cost of transition from social welfare to employment inhibits them. They would lose their medical card which is a big issue for any parent who then cannot afford private healthcare on a low wage. They are thus socially excluded.

People with physical disabilities have no way to improve the quality of their lives. They may not be able to work at all and must exist on a small sum given to them by the social welfare department. They also require home help just to do menial tasks. In many cases they rely on a parent or other family member for this support which also puts the carer in a position where they can not work enough hours if any at all to earn a wage that would be considered adequate. This in turn leads to the carer becoming at risk of falling into poverty. These people are among the most vulnerable people in society and are stuck in a poverty trap. They are excluded socially not only because of their physical limitations but also because...
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