The Roadmap for Social Inclusion 2020 – 2025, which was published in January 2020, includes a commitment to ‘Develop a comprehensive programme of work to further explore the drivers of food poverty and to identify mitigating actions’ (Commitment 61).
The Food Poverty Working Group, which I chair, was established in May 2021 and aims to tackle the issue of food poverty in accordance with this commitment. Its membership consists of the Departments of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth; Education; Health; Rural and Community Development; and Social Protection. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Crosscare and the Children’s Rights Alliance are also members of this group.
The group has met on four occasions in June, July, September and November so far this year. The group has focused on two pieces of work to date. The first is a mapping exercise of programmes, services and supports across Government that address food poverty. Data gathering is being finalised this month, and my Department will then look at how the data can be used and disseminated. The second piece of work is the development of a research proposal to analyse the prevalence of food poverty in selected case study areas; identify the drivers of food poverty in each area; and examine the range of service providers and actors relating to food poverty in each area, identifying any gaps in service provision. The research outcomes should inform the delivery of Commitment 61 of the Roadmap for Social Inclusion.
I thank the Deputy for his question and hope this clarifies the matter.