The Government remains committed to protecting the most vulnerable in society in times of economic constraint, a minister has said.
Pat Carey marked the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty at the launch of social inclusion week.
"Despite our altered economic and fiscal circumstances we remain committed to building a socially inclusive and fair society," said the minister for community, equality and Gaeltacht affairs.
"Our overall goal is to restore economic growth, maximise employment and prioritise the needs of the most vulnerable," he added.
Mr Carey said social inclusion week was an opportunity to acknowledge the effort and struggle of people living in poverty.
Grants have been given to local authorities around the country to host a programme of activities.
Mr Carey said events will showcase the work being done at local level and to reflect on the EU commitment to making a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty.
"We know that now, more than ever, we must ensure that the resources devoted to social inclusion policies are used as effectively and efficiently as possible," he continued.
"Local people are best placed to assess, to plan for and to co-ordinate the responses to local needs."