Features

Challenging Poverty in Northern Ireland

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On 1 December 2010, the document Challenging Poverty in Northern Ireland, was launched jointly by the Northern Ireland Catholic Commission on Social Affairs (NICCOSA), the Society of St Vincent de Paul and St Mary’s University College, Belfast.

 

 



Challenging Poverty in Northern Ireland

Challenging Poverty in Northern Ireland, a joint publication by the Northern Ireland Catholic Council for Social Affairs, the Society of St Vincent de Paul and St Mary’s University College, Belfast, was launched on 1 December 2010 at an event in Belfast’s City Hall.

On the same occasion a panel discussion took place with representatives of Christians Against Poverty, the NI Anti-Poverty Network, the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and the Society of St Vincent de Paul (Northern Region). The panel discussion was chaired by broadcaster and journalist, Mr Conor Bradford.

Keynote speakers at the event included:

  • Bishop Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor, Chair of the Bishops’ Commission for International and Social Affairs
  • Minister for Social Development in Northern Ireland, Mr Alex Attwood, MLA
  • Councillor Pat Convery, Lord Mayor of Belfast
  • Mr Cormac Wilson, President, Northern Region, Society of St Vincent de Paul
 


Extracts from the address of Bishop Noel Treanor, Chair of the Bishops’ Commission for International and Social Affairs, at the launch event

“As Christmas approaches, people are worried. Confidence is low. Hope in the future is in short supply…. There are few postcodes in Northern Ireland today where there is not some family living in fear of the next bill, of not being able to heat the house, of not having enough money for Christmas presents for the children, or of not having food on the table at the end of the month. Losing established wealth and becoming poor, perhaps for the first time in your life is a crushing and traumatic experience, often compounded by the emotional distress of leaving the stability of a much loved family home. This is the new and stark dimension of the poverty in our midst.”

“We are blessed in Northern Ireland with extraordinary levels of individual generosity and social concern. Let me take this opportunity to appeal for a new mobilisation of voluntary participation to tackle poverty and social exclusion in our society. We need more people to become involved in organisations like SVDP, Christians Against Poverty and other voluntary initiatives which provide practical support, including a caring word and a listening ear to those in need around us.”


About the Northern Ireland Catholic Council for Social Affairs (NICCOSA)

The Northern Ireland Catholic Council for Social Affairs (NICCOSA) is a northern sub-committee of the Irish Council for Justice and Peace, made up largely of lay people with relevant expertise and experience who provide advice on social, political and legislative matters to the Catholic Bishops of Northern Ireland.

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