Day for the Eradication of Poverty commemorated in Dublin
Poor need a role in decision making – Lord Mayor
Yash Sumoondur, Valentine Cocis and Mitesh Merai from O’Connell secondary school take part in Ireland’s commemoration for UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty at the World Poverty Stone at Custom House Quay in Dublin. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire
People living in poverty need to be involved in developing the policies that affect them, Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn has said.
Mr Quinn was speaking at an event at the Famine Memorial in Dublin’s Docklands yesterday to commemorate UN Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
“As a city councillor and as Lord Mayor, I am conscious that many policies prepared with the best of intentions fail, not totally but to a significant degree. In part that is because they are not designed by the people they are intended to help.”
Mr Quinn said he was aware of people being passed from one agency to another or from one department to another within State bodies in the “Byzantine system” of Irish bureaucracy. “If you are suffering from extreme poverty you are also suffering from extreme stress,” he said.
Leading the commemoration, northwest inner-city community activist Seán Dunne said the State ignored the views of those living in poverty, denying their human rights.
“The unique knowledge of people based on their own experience of living in the worst conditions, over several generations in many cases, is too often not valued or acted upon.”
Marginalised people lack the resources or connections to influence decision-makers, said Mr Dunne.
“This often results in the policies and programmes meant to eradicate poverty being ill-adapted to the needs, realities and expectation of the people they are supposed to help.”
The commemoration also heard from a number of people experiencing poverty who spokes about its impact on their health, education, ability to access work and housing, and their family lives.