A NEW report on food poverty has revealed that people in Donegal are among the worst hit, with one in nine unable to afford basic meals.
One in ten people in Ireland suffers food poverty across the country, new figures released in the Hungry for Action report yesterday have revealed.
The report, which contained the county-by-county breakdown of food poverty in Ireland, was compiled by trade unions Mandate and Unite. They have claimed the food poverty crisis has increased dramatically since the start of the economic crisis.
The unions have called on the government to release vital funds to help tackle the problem, citing pensioners, the newly unemployed and lone parents as among the worst off.
John Douglas, Mandate General Secretary, said food poverty means someone has been forced to miss a meal because they could not afford it.
“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.”
Unite’s regional secretary Jimmy Kelly said food poverty is a problem in every county across Ireland. He said the government should give €10 million to organisations that provide food assistance, which he said are stretched to their limits.
“Food poverty in Ireland today is part of a policy-made disaster – austerity, and the collapse in incomes it has brought in its wake.
“But the cause of food poverty will only be addressed by starting to increase the incomes of the most deprived in our society, which is why we are also calling for an increase in basic Social Protection rates, and an increase in the minimum wage to help address the growing problem of in-work poverty.”
Mandate and Unite have also called for an emergency relief budget in the new year to start reversing cuts to low-income groups and an increase in the minimum wage and more support in benefits to social welfare recipients.