Wednesday, 21 September 2022
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
Cathal Crowe (Clare, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source
Insightful as this report is, it becomes futile unless there is a strategy to respond to poverty in County Clare. That is the very thing Clare PPN and our partners are looking for. We have a Clare county development plan that contains headings on housing, retail and wind energy, but there is no heading dealing with poverty. Currently, that plan is under review. We need a heading and a strategy on poverty. The representatives of Clare PPN cannot speak from the Public Gallery today, but if they could they would shout out that there is no data set, particularly where childhood poverty is concerned. It is true that we collect data in the census, but census figures sometimes take five or six years to trickle down. A child who is measured as being in a home of a certain income level may have left childhood by the time they are accounted and factored for within Government strategy. It is particularly concerning that we are 33% down on GP service requirements and 50% down on dental service requirements in County Clare. That is how far we need to go to catch up with the national average, which itself is not good. It is something that I believe the Government and the HSE need to deal with. There is a whole lot more to be done to deal with the marginalisation of Travellers, mental health and pathways to education and jobs. We need a strategy. I think the Clare county development plan is the vehicle for that. We would love Government support for that.