Responding to yesterday’s Budget announcement – the largest in years - Leslie Ann Scott, Interim CEO of Extern Ireland, said: “This Budget has delivered a combination of measures that will, in the short term, deliver some relief for families across the spectrum. However, what is clear is that it falls short of reaching the most vulnerable and in crisis children and families who are facing a winter of heightened poverty.

“The Budget could certainly have gone further with more permanent social protection measures. While we welcome the one-off measures and the targeted approach which will benefit those in need, this targeting could have gone further to reach the families and children who critically need it the most.

"As such, we are disappointed for the families and children we support as they will continue to struggle to even stand still financially with poverty firmly at their door. There will need to be further supports for these families as we go through the winter and Extern calls on the government to pledge to release further funding support to the most vulnerable families and children as we go into the winter months.

“Extern Ireland also welcomes the increase in funding to Tusla and hopes to see additional funding for the increasing number of young people and families in crisis who need intensive supports to stay together in their homes in order to prevent children from entering the state care system.

“With some 70% of the families that Extern supports in partnership with state agencies already living in consistent poverty, long-term permanent solutions to alleviate the impact of poverty on children are needed sooner rather than later. The fact that 8% of children are consistently living in poverty with no hope of a bright future is a shocking reality of our society.”