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Families ‘locked in poverty cycle’

Resource type: News

Irish Times |

Better education levels and more economic resources mean we have an awesome responsibility to ensure that children of all backgrounds benefit from “the rising tide”, President Mary McAleese said yesterday. She paid tribute to the work of staff at a Galway-based family research centre established six years ago to help children and families break the cycle of poverty and disadvantage. Speaking at the opening of the Child and Family Research Centre at the National University of Ireland, Galway, the President said the investment the centre was making in the lives of those who are faced with a more difficult start in life, both to the people themselves and to society as a whole, could not be underestimated. “If any society has a core, a basic building block, then ours are the child and the family. They are so much part of the air we breathe that sometimes we need to be reminded that the processes which make for healthy children and families and the processes which make for unhealthy children and families need to be deeply understood, to be researched and revealed,” said Mrs McAleese. “The children and families who remain locked in a cycle of poverty and disadvantage need our best efforts to help them join the flotilla of boats on that rising tide. We know the earlier the intervention offered, the better are the chances of escape to a fulfilled and happier life,” she said. “Targeted supports at key points in childhood and adolescence help prevent the onset of those behavioural problems that lead to underachievement and marginalisation. “We know too that those interventions work best when the whole family is involved, for children, family, community and society are caught in the same web – pull one part and the whole thing moves, damage one part and we are all weakened, strengthen one part and we all benefit.” Established in 2001, the research centre is run in partnership by the Health Service Executive West and the department of political science and sociology of NUI Galway. It also receives funding from the charitable organisation, Atlantic Philanthropies.”