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Shortall, Róisín

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Appointment of Taoiseach and Nomination of Members of Government

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Appointment of Taoiseach and Nomination of Members of Government

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Appointment of Taoiseach and Nomination of Members of Government

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Deputy Róisín Shortall

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Snippet Contents:

At the outset, I congratulate the Ministers of State, Deputies Eoghan Murphy and Regina Doherty, on their elevation to Cabinet and I wish them well in their new roles. Apart from that, I have to share the points made by other speakers suggesting that the reshuffle that has taken place has been quite uninspiring. In some of the areas where reform is most needed there is not too much sign that it will happen. There has been much comment on remarks the Taoiseach and the outgoing Taoiseach have made in respect of child poverty. The reality is that one in nine children now live in consistent poverty. Since 2008, that figure has doubled. The Taoiseach, during the period of the last Government, and his predecessors in government, Fianna Fáil, contributed very significantly to that doubling. That is a shameful record by any standard. Words ring very hollow. We can only judge the Taoiseach by his actions, not by his fine words on a day like today. There is no doubt but that the impact of austerity fell disproportionately on children. That has created huge problems and the loss of childhood for many thousands of children.
The Taoiseach spoke about giving the Minister, Deputy Zappone, a priority job to do, which was to tackle the area of child poverty. That is all very well but is he prepared to give her the requisite funding? The initiatives taken in the past in respect of area-based childhood programmes have been starved of funding. Their funding is only guaranteed for another few months. The Taoiseach needs to put his money where his mouth is if he is serious about tackling the scandal of child poverty. Is he prepared to provide the kind of funding needed for those areas most affected by poverty, in order to provide the kind of investment that is required in family support services, infant mental health services, general child health services, education and child care?
A Leas-Cheann Comhairle, I am sorry. There are few enough Ministers here.