Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has said the continued rise in the numbers of working poor is the logical outworking of the Fine Gael and Fianna Fail austerity agenda.
The Ireland South MEP was speaking after it was revealed that more than 100,000 people in the state are living below the poverty line despite being employed.
The Poverty Focus 2018 report from Social Justice Ireland shows that the levels of working poor have continued to rise from 2009.
“This report makes for deeply depressing but hardly surprising reading,” she said.
“Ireland has been in the grips of a cost of living crisis for years now and yet consecutive governments have stuck their heads in the sand when it comes to acknowledging that reality.
“It’s very basic mathematics. You cannot keep people’s wages static while at the same time hiking up the costs of rent, transport, insurance, gas, electricity and countless other every day necessities and expect them to maintain the same standard of living.
“The government have done nothing about insurance cartels, the zero hour contracts bill was riddled with loopholes and qualifications, their rent cap was a counter-productive fiasco that has done more damage than good, they have made an absolute shambles out of public transport, is it any wonder that life is becoming less and less affordable?
“The reality for tens of thousands of people across the state is that they aren’t living, they are simply existing; earning just enough, week to week, to cover the bare essentials and nothing else.
“This is an outrageous state of affairs. This government clearly has no plan for eradicating poverty when even those in employment are falling into the poverty trap.
“It’s yet another example of how Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are completely out of touch with what the reality is for hundreds of thousands of people across the state, the much vaunted recovery only seems to apply to the bubble they live in.
“In our 2018 Alternative Budget we proposed a number of measures aimed specifically at tackling the cost of living crisis that the government refuses to acknowledge, including specific protections against inflation, the introduction of a living wage and real rent certainty for people.”