Welcome to our Blog
Hello and welcome to the new EAPN Ireland website! We hope you will follow our blog and find the contributions interesting and informative.
We believe the decision to have a blog on our website enables EAPN Ireland and its members to, in some small way, facilitate a much needed ongoing discussion around poverty. Now more than ever, there is an increasing need for honest and open reflection regarding social exclusion, the surrounding issues, and to recognise that poverty is a fundamental backbone of societal inequality. Yet as a subject matter, as a state of existence, we have all borne witness to the injustice of poverty being undermined and used as a label to stigmatise entire communities and those who rely on the state for their income, supports, and services. It therefore becomes increasingly important that negative and prejudicial narratives, linked to the experience of poverty, should be counteracted in some form, for the purposes of effective and transparent communication on social exclusion. Though not always easy to achieve, if a truthful alternate narrative is not available, this ensures that many of the myths and prejudices around poverty and inequality remain undisputed and therefore become entrenched within the public domain.
The CSO’s Survey of Income and Living Conditions 2017 shows that in 2017, 15.7% of the population,were living below the poverty line (at risk-of poverty) of €12,521 per annum. This is down from 16.2% in 2016. While any drop in poverty rates is of course welcome, it is important to note that poverty rates in Ireland are still around the EU average and are much higher than prior to the economic crisis. We see that 18.8% of people are living in deprivation because they cannot afford two of the eleven agreed basic essentials, well above the 11.8% level of 2007. 
The narrative around social exclusion, which the general population in Ireland encounters on a regular basis, is often at odds with the lived realities of people experiencing poverty, and focuses on an Ireland with a growing economy steaming towards full employment. However the economic recovery has not reached or ensured positive impacts for large sections of society. The broader picture on poverty, the need for a solution based focus encompassing human rights and dignity, as well as the work of the community and voluntary sector in dealing with social exclusion, is not explored consistently within the public domain, in a meaningful or in-depth capacity.
We see that recent EU Elections have placed a spotlight on a political landscape where aspects of far right ideologies have gained traction within Europe,including Ireland. As a result, marginalised groups within society, such as immigrants, Travellers, Roma, the unemployed, have become scapegoats for the problems around social and economic inequality, despite the fact that people from these groups are far more likely to be living in consistent poverty. The Community and Voluntary sector is operating in a time when solidarity with those most in need is no longer a given or guaranteed part of our shared societal values, but instead has been deemed optional, and in some quarters, considered to be wholly unnecessary. Therefore we believe that sharing and exploring the voices of those experiencing poverty and the perspectives of the community and voluntary sector is more important than ever in order to continue an honest discussion on the realities of poverty in Ireland today.
As we launch our new website we will do our best to update and keep you informed of all new and relevant developments within the social policy landscape. We plan to use our blog to highlight all aspects of the anti-poverty work conducted by EAPN Ireland, EAPN Europe, the important work of the Community and Voluntary sector as well as projects within local communities. We also hope we can provide a platform to people experiencing poverty where they can share their views and provide us with further insight into the lives of those whose reality is one of living below the poverty line.