Irish Churches urge measures to address the cost of living crisis

Irish Church leaders express their deep concern over the social impact of the soaring of prices in the island and urge authorities both in Ireland and Northern Ireland to deliver a “more practical support” to those most affected by the energy 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 

“Projections for the autumn point to the situation worsening while too many people are already struggling to afford essentials like food and fuel and are in real danger of losing their homes, health or lives.”

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.”

“Followers of Christ have always been called to serve the poor, not just through acts of charity, though these continue every day in ways large and small, but through the pursuit of justice and mercy.”

“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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27 August 2022, 14:49