Poverty levels ‘unacceptable’ in rural Ireland

Povery is increasing to unacceptable levels in rural counties, such as Mayo.

That is according to Social Justice Ireland, an independent think tank and justice advocacy organisation.

The group was responding to the latest survey on income and living conditions, published on Wednesday by the Central Statistics Office.

The survey highlights the growing poverty problem in rural Ireland, said Social Justice Ireland.

“There are approximately 350,154 people in rural Ireland living in poverty,” outlined Michelle Murphy, research and policy analyst with Social Justice Ireland.

“This means that over 350,000 people in rural Ireland are surviving on incomes of less than €10,453 per annum.

“This situation is simply unacceptable and highlights the consequences of successive governments’ inaction on the challenges facing rural Ireland.”

The number of people in rural Ireland living in consistent poverty has more than doubled since 2008 and now stands at 194,127 people.

The deprivation rate in rural Ireland increased dramatically by five percentage points between 2012 and 2013.

This means that more than 560,000 people in rural Ireland cannot afford the goods and services considered the norm for other people in society.

Household incomes in rural Ireland are falling.

The disposable income (that is income after tax and any social welfare transfers ) of households in rural Ireland fell by almost three percentage points between 2012 and 2013.

Ms Murphy said the urban rural divide is growing.

She called for the immediate implementation of the Commission for Economic Development in Rural Areas report, which was published last April and contained 34 main recommendations to help support the economic development of rural areas up to 2025.

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