Parents are “facing really stark choices” between food, heating, electricity or taking their children to the doctor.
The children’s charity Barnardos is warning that almost two-thirds of parents have had to without essentials including food, energy, clothing and medicines in the past six months.
The charity is warning that the cost-of-living crisis is having a “really negative impact” on children in low-income families.
The charity is calling on the Government to establish a hardship fund to ensure children can access the basics they need to live a healthy life.
That comes despite the consistent message from Government that no more interventions will be made until the budget in October.
'How would you feel?'
On Breakfast Briefing his morning, Barnardos CEO Suzanne Connolly said that is simply not good enough.
“That doesn’t sit very well considering children and parents are suffering now,” she said.
“I would really like the Taoiseach to give consideration to that. Imagine himself in a family dealing with these daily stresses.
“How would he feel? It is within his power to do something now.”
Ms Connolly said the charity is “really concerned” about the impact the cost-of-living crisis will have on children’s health, wellbeing and development.
“Can you imagine being a parent and having to think, ‘God, do I buy the weekly shop to the extent that I need it, or do I bring my child to the doctor,” she said.
The Barnardos study found that around one-quarter of parents have had to cut back on food, heating, or electricity in the past six months.
More than a third have had to cut back on clothes and one-in-six have cut back or gone without medical appointments and medicines.
Ms Connolly said low-income families must be prioritised in the range of challenges facing the Government.
“What is more important than the daily lives of these children and parents living in these really unprecedented times?” she said.
“I mean where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
The charity is calling on the Government to take two steps – set up a hardship fund and work with energy companies to ensure low-income families are on the lowest tariffs.
“We as a society need to be do something about it and the Government has the power to do that,” said Ms Connolly.