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Children scavenge bins for food as low-income families lose €3,500

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POOR children in a prosperous city are forced to scavenge for food in bins, a leading charity claimed last night.

St Vincent de Paul (SVP) said two five-year-olds were spotted rooting through a bin on Kilkenny’s High Street by a local social worker in recent days.

Liam Heffernan, president of Kilkenny SVP told the ‘Kilkenny People’: “I also saw an adult searching through a bin recently for food. I have never seen conditions so bad. People are going hungry and are in desperate need of fuel and there is a real chance that there could be an awful tragedy if people don’t act.”

In its analysis of the Budget, meanwhile, Social Justice Ireland (SJI) said the cuts would cost low-income families between €2,000 and €3,500 a year.

SJI director Fr Sean Healy said: “The choices made will rob the the poor to protect people and institutions who caused many of Ireland’s problems.”

A family with three children and one adult earning €30,000 will be €1,956 worse off due to tax increases, the new universal social charge, cuts of €540 a year in child benefit and wage cuts, according to SJI figures.

Where both parents are working for €30,000 a year between them, disposable income would fall by €3,506.

Fr Healy said this would be mainly because wages linked to the national minimum wage are also set to fall by the same amount (€1 per hour), resulting in losses of €2,000 to €3,000 a year for low earners.

But the Department of Finance last night claimed it was not fair to assume that all lower wages would immediately come down once the minimum wage was reduced.

“The impact of lowering the minimum wage will be more on new jobs that will be created,” a spokesman told the Irish Independent.

However, Fr Healy said the clear purpose of reducing the minimum wage was to put downward pressure on the wages of all low-paid workers.


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