For single parents in Ireland, poverty has doubled over the past five years, report finds
According to a new report by the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP), poverty among lone working parents has more than doubled over a five year period from 2012 to 2017.
Back in 2012 in Ireland, one in 11 working lone parents were living below the poverty line. However, according to the new SVP report Working, Parenting and Struggling – this number had, by 2017, increased to one in five. In other words, the number of lone working parents living below the poverty line has doubled – and then some – over a five-year period.
According to the report, the living standard of lone parents in Ireland are among the worst in Europe as they have the second highest rates of income poverty, persistent poverty and severe deprivation among 15 EU peer countries.
“High housing and childcare costs combined with low levels of income mean that it is very difficult for many families with children to make ends meet,” SVP social policy development officer and author of the report Dr Tricia Keilthy said.
“These factors significantly reduce the standard of living of working lone parents who face additional challenges as both the primary earner and primary caregiver for their families.”
The report states that in 2017, 45 percent of lone parents reported a heavy financial burden due to housing costs and almost 18 percent were in arrears on mortgage or rent repayments. 84 percent of long parents said they were unable to meet unexpected expenses, compared to an EU-15 average of 58 percent.
Childcare cost in Ireland are hight, and in 2017, the report found that almost 60 percent of lone parents admitted that they couldn’t access childcare services due to cost – the second highest rate in the 15 EU countries, just after Spain.
Speaking to The Journal, SVP national president Kieran Stafford, explains:
“The first SVP members began their work in Dublin in 1844. However, many of the same issues of poverty – low paid, precarious work and poor quality housing – persist for the people we assist. Our members see the strain on working lone parents who are trying to combine spending time with their children and meeting their caring responsibilities with jobs which can be inflexible and insecure, and often do not provide a sufficient income to meet all of the household needs”.