October 4, 2023

‘Vulnerable children’ hit hardest by pandemic – Kilkenny TD

A local TD has welcomed a report which shows children and young people in disadvantaged areas have been disproportionality impacted by Covid-19.

Deputy Kathleen Funchion was speaking following the publication of data by the Irish Youth Foundation which reveals children and young people in the Traveller, Roma and migrant communities have been more affected by the pandemic.

Children in these communities are more likely to have felt the effects of homelessness, domestic abuse, addiction and substance abuse due to their loss of contact to the outside world, the report found.

Deputy Funchion, who is Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for children, said: “The world as children know it has fundamentally changed. As outlined clearly in this report, from the perspective of social workers, children from disadvantaged areas are struggling with their long-term mental health, social skills, resilience and behaviour.

“Children in one parent homes, or experiencing homelessness or domestic violence, those living in direct provision or young people struggling with addiction and substance abuse have been disproportionally affected by a loss of contact with the outside world.

“Inequalities already experienced by many vulnerable and disadvantaged children in the Irish Traveller community, the Roma and migrant communities have been accelerated. As services and supports were temporarily removed or closed during the pandemic vulnerable children felt the impact of the pandemic the most,” Deputy Funchion added.

The Carlow-Kilkenny TD called for more funding for children’s services and for more attention to be paid to the plight of the youth in Ireland, including the state of their mental well-being.

Deputy Funchion (pictured below) added: “The report also emphasises the importance of investment in youth services through one-to-one counselling and enhanced intervention supports.

“Extended absences from school and long periods of isolation, inactivity and a lack of structure is of particular concern for the long-term mental health of young people.

“The closure of all juvenile sports, dance, music and other extra-curricula activities has also disproportionality affected disadvantaged children.

“Today’s announcement by the government of their recovery plan that makes no provision for early years and services for young people. This government needs to get serious about investing in you people and children.”

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