The social problem

Strange as it may seem, food poverty is a significant problem in modern Ireland, one that has been exacerbated by the recent economic recession. Food Poverty In Ireland, a comprehensive report by the Unite Trade Union, states that one-in-ten people in Ireland – or around 457,000 of our fellow citizens – suffer from food poverty. By which they mean 10% of the Irish population simply cannot afford to provide themselves and their families with the recommended daily amounts of food.

  • More than 1,500 families in the greater Tralee area required support from St Vincent de Paul during Christmas 2013
  • SVDP now spends more than €85,000 in the area during the holiday period
  • The number of people in crisis has risen by more than 38% in recent years


In another startling report Lost Education, a study commissioned by children’s charity Barnardos and food manufacturer Kellogg’s, 500 primary and secondary school teachers were interviewed about their classroom observations. The findings are stark and worrying:

  • Nearly one in five of the teachers said they’ve noticed an increase in the number of hungry children in their classes.
  • Almost 40% said they had taken food into school for a child who is regularly hungry, while 19% said they know of children who are arriving hungry for lessons every day.
  • Almost a third of the teachers had pupils fall asleep in the classroom because they hadn’t eaten.
Skipping dinner; eating less, eating less well; or giving up food in order to pay bills is a reality for many people in Kerry today. And it’s not just citizens in the lower socio-economic group that are struggling. Even families who have always lived securely in the middle class are now seeking help.