‘Disturbing’ levels of child deprivation in latest CSO figures, Barnardos says

Many families cannot afford school trips for their children or leisure activities that cost money, figures show

Many families cannot afford to pay for school trips for their children, permit them to engage in leisure activities that cost money or buy them sufficient clothing, according to the latest statistics on child deprivation in Ireland.

Commenting on the Central Statistics Office (CSO) report published on Tuesday, Barnardos said it was notable that the “disturbing” levels of child deprivation reported related to last year, “before the effects of the cost of living increases escalated this year”.

It said it feared the situation was worsening rapidly for families on low incomes, and that things were particularly stark for children in single parent families or those where where one parent was not Irish.

Child deprivation

According to the CSO, almost one in 10 (9.7 per cent) single-parent households could not afford to pay to send their children on school trips or to school events. The figure fell to 2 per cent for two-parent households.


Almost one in eight (12.4 per cent) single-parent households were unable to afford two pairs of properly fitting shoes for their children, it found, with the comparable rate for two-parent households at 1 per cent.

More than one fifth (20.6 per cent) of households where nobody worked were unable to afford to pay for regular leisure activities such as swimming, learning an instrument or attending youth organisation events. This compares with 5.2 per cent of households where one person worked and less than 1 per cent of households with two working adults.

Nearly two fifths (39.2 per cent) of households that rent their accommodation said they could not afford a one-week holiday away from home for their children, around five times the rate for owner-occupied households (7.9 per cent).

Just under one tenth (9.6 per cent) of households that rented their home were unable to afford new clothes for their children, compared with 1.1 per cent of owner-occupied households.

Some 10.3 per cent of households without an Irish-born parent could not afford to buy new clothes for their children, compared to 2.8 per cent of households with at least one Irish-born parent.

A parent (or parents) were unable to afford new clothes for their children in 4.3 per cent of households, with 10.5 per cent saying they were unable to afford new clothes for themselves.

Stephen Moffatt of Barnardos said there were severe implications for a child who could not afford to join in leisure activities with schoolfriends if there was a financial cost. He said parents were making superhuman efforts to support children and were cutting back and doing without things on a seemingly increasing basis.

He said while Barnardos welcomed many of the recent budget measures targeted at cost-of-living issues, many of the solutions were once-off supports.

“When it came to social welfare increases the amounts were sometimes less than inflation” he said.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist