Need for measures to counteract growing inequalities among children

22 July 2020

Ivana Bacik

Speaking today to welcome the publication of the ESRI report ‘Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic for Policy in Relation to Children and Young People,’ Senator Ivana Bacik called on the Government to take measures to counteract the way in which the pandemic and associated restrictions have brought about an exacerbation of pre-existing inequalities for children and young people.

The report, published by the ESRI, and produced in partnership with Department of Children and Youth Affairs, is based upon Irish and international research on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on children and young people. It suggests that pre-COVID-19 inequalities documented by Growing Up in Ireland and other studies have grown in the wake of the pandemic.

Senator Bacik said:

“We know that the negative effects on wellbeing and mental health have been more apparent among those from disadvantaged backgrounds as well as among younger adults. The impact is also seen to be gendered, with women more likely to report feelings of depression, anxiety or sadness during the period of restrictions.

“We know also that creche and school closures, and the move to online learning, will have the greatest impact on disadvantaged families and their children. Measures must be put in place to counter these negative impacts, especially for those in the most marginalised groups.

“While the pandemic impacts on the outcomes of all children, the gap between the advantaged and less advantaged is likely to widen as it will be harder for the more vulnerable groups to ‘catch up’. The Government needs to move urgently to adopt measures to counteract these effects of the pandemic upon children in Ireland.”