Irish Churches urge measures to address the cost of living crisis
By Lisa Zengarini
Irish Church leaders have urged government support to address the current cost of living crisis, warning that that increasing energy and food prices are disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable and people already living in poverty.
Households across the world feeling the cost of living crisis
The crisis, mainly resulting from the war in Ukraine, is taking its toll not only on the poorer and economically fragile countries across the world, but also in the richer nations of Europe, including neighbouring Britain, where consumer price inflation has reached its highest point since 1982, darkening the country’s economic prospects amid mounting workers’ unrest.
Situation expected to worsen in autumn
In a joint statement, released on Thursday, the leaders of the Catholic, Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches, and of the Irish Council of Churches, say they are “deeply concerned” by what they are seeing on the ground
Short-term a long-term strategies needed
The Church leaders also say that they are concerned about the government response in both jurisdictions of Ireland and Northern Ireland, "in meeting immediate needs and also in relation to longer term strategy”.
Referring in particular to Northern Ireland, they lament that the Anti-Poverty Strategy required from the NI Executive in the Good Friday Agreement signed in 1998 has yet to be agreed or produced. Likewise, in Ireland a cross-party anti-poverty strategy “is badly needed to address issues in a comprehensive and effective manner”.
The Christian leaders , therefore, call for “more practical support to be delivered urgently through direct government initiatives in both jurisdictions and also via grassroots charity and community partnerships”. “This – they say - must go hand in hand with a longer term refocusing of government policies to deliver real and meaningful social justice and eliminate poverty across this island.”
“It is our shared vocation to witness to Christ and to protect the dignity of those made in God’s image, and so we are compelled to speak up in this moment, out of concern and in hope, for the good and flourishing of everyone in our communities”, the statement concludes.
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