A report published in the Belfast Telegraph (November 12) of a recent study for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation highlighted the fact that the level of persistent poverty among children living in Northern Ireland is more than double that recorded in Great Britain.
Furthermore, the report identified high levels of unemployment, disability, lower wages and poor quality part-time jobs as major contributory factors.
That a fifth of families in Northern Ireland experience persistent poverty compared to a tenth of families living in Great Britain is a shocking statistic.
Parents on low incomes and caring for disabled children are suffering from particular difficulties.
Research recently published by Save the Children and the Family Fund showed that one in three disabled children was living in poverty.
The report added that almost half of children living in a family with a disabled adult are in poverty.
The levels of poverty experienced in Northern Ireland cannot and should not be permitted to go unchallenged.
The resultant feelings of hopelessness and social exclusion should be a matter of utmost concern for all of us with a stake in our society.
REV DR SCOTT PEDDIE, REV PAUL HOLDSWORTH, ED PETERSEN, WILLIAM MATEER and ROSEMARY MATEER
Church Action on Poverty (NI Branch) committee