Income inequality and deprivation lead young people to crime

Sean Crowe

TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has said that while the state coffers may be selling, child poverty is on the rise and that we cannot the ignore the long lasting effects that that has on society, not least social exclusion and the normalisation of certain crimes.
Speaking in the Dáil recently, Teachta Crowe said “Huge factors in the causes of crime involving young people are poverty, deprivation and disadvantage and, I suppose, the normalisation of certain crime in our communities. Young people and children often fall victim to those who exploit that poverty and use them as drug couriers or sellers. My party colleague, Mark Ward TD, has introduced legislation that will make the coercion of a child into drug running or other such crimes a criminal act in itself.
“Children growing up in poverty and social exclusion are less likely to do well in school, enjoy good health and realise their full potential later in life. They are also at higher risk of becoming unemployed, poor and socially excluded. Children living in poverty live life on the margins, are excluded from opportunities and are often unable to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty that other Members have spoken of.
“It was reported earlier this year that almost 90,000 children were living in consistent poverty in Ireland in 2022, up by more than 40% in just a year. That was at a time when the State’s coffers and the resources were never higher. We are allowing child poverty to worsen and we are ignoring the long-term effects that this will have on these children, their families and communities into the future. We must always seek to be proactive in preventing young people from getting involved in criminality in the first place.
“One group that I want to mention, in particular, is a group in my own area called Connect 4. The project was rolled out last year. It is a pilot project which uses street work to engage young people between the ages of ten and 24 in the greater Tallaght area. It involves a team of workers who engage with young people within the community, build up relations and direct them to support services.
“Connect 4 work with young people who are disconnected from community, family and themselves, often due to drug use, poverty, poor mental health or trauma. These young people often feel let down by the State and may be distrustful of authority figures. By going out and meeting these young people directly, Connect 4 has brought a lot of people in out of the cold, and has connected them to the support services they need.
“This all ties in with the work of the Tallaght Drug and Alcohol Task Force, a forum which I have been part of. If we want to build healthy, safe and resilient communities, we must tackle income inequality and deprivation. Until then, we must mainstream, support and resource groups like Connect 4 so that we lose fewer young people.” 

Sarah Brooks

Sarah Brooks

Sarah has worked in marketing and content creation for many years. In her role at Newsgroup, she is the online editor of with a particular interest in local news and events. Sarah also works closely with our editorial team on our printed editions in Tallaght, Lucan, Clondalkin and Rathcoole/Saggart. If you have a story and would like to make contact please email Sarah at



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