Spatial Justice and the Irish Crisis: Poverty - Des McCafferty and Eileen Humphreys


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Royal Irish Academy Conference: Spatial Justice and the Irish Crisis
23 April, 2013, Academy House

The on-going crisis and associated responses to it (political, governance, popular etc.) provides an entry point for a wide-ranging exploration of spatial justice as a theoretical construct and a departure point for empirical analysis. Discourses of justice, equality and fairness remain central to a range of interconnected debates as Ireland seeks to recover from the interrelated collapses of the banking system and property markets and the knock on effects through the rest of society and the economy. Scale is an important dimension in framing and constructing popular discourses concerning issues of justice, e.g. the role of EU institutions in shaping Ireland’s treatment of banking debt or the impact of national budgetary measures on particular places. The focus of this conference is on understanding these spatially connected processes, how they are functioning at different scales, their impact on particular or specific places and spaces, as they give rise to new or evolving social and economic geographies.

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Spatial Justice and the Irish Crisis: Poverty - Des McCafferty and Eileen Humphreys

  1. 1. Child Poverty, UrbanRegeneration andEnvironmental JusticeDes McCaffertyMary Immaculate College, LimerickEileen HumphreysUniversity of Limerick
  2. 2. Outline of presentation• Child poverty in Ireland• Children in disadvantaged areas: childoutcomes in Limerick’s regenerationestates• Children and environmental justice• Reflections on the regenerationprogramme
  3. 3. National social target for povertyreduction (2012)• To reduce consistent poverty to 4 per centby 2016, and to 2 per cent or less by 2020,from a baseline rate of 6.2 per cent in2010• Two sub-targets:– To reduce the differential in the consistentpoverty rates for children and adults– To reduce the concentration of theconsistently poor in jobless households
  4. 4. Poverty indicators 2006-20110510152025302006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011PercentageofPopulationAt risk of poverty rateDeprivation rateConsistent poverty rate
  5. 5. Child poverty indicators
  6. 6. Consistent poverty by householdcomposition0246810121416181 adult aged65+1 adult aged<652 adults, atleast 1 aged65+2 adults bothaged <653 or moreadults1 adult withchildren aged<182 adults with 1-3 childrenaged <18Otherhouseholdswith childrenRate(%)200920102011
  7. 7. Research Objective:To explore the needs andexperiences of children andfamilies in Limerick City, with aparticular emphasis oncommunities targeted forassistance under the Limerickregeneration initiativeResearch Team:IKOS Research and Consultancy(Eileen Humphreys) and MaryImmaculate College (DesMcCafferty and Ann Higgins)Commissioned By:Limerick City Children’s ServicesCommittee
  8. 8. Regeneration areasDisadvantaged controlAverage control
  9. 9. The regeneration estatesMoyrossO’Malley Park, SouthillBallinacurra WestonSt. Mary’s Park
  10. 10. Survey of parents / carers andchildrenArea Sample of Parents/ Carers (N)Child Sample(N)Northside Regeneration 119 42Southside Regeneration 90 23Disadvantaged Control 104 39Average control 105 24Total 418 128Note: The survey of parents / carers enquired in all cases about a‘reference’ child in the family. This child may not have been the sameas the child interviewed in the child survey
  11. 11. 0102030405060708090100NsideRegenSside RegenDisadv. Area AverageAreaAll Areas%respondentsSingle / never marriedMarried / CohabitingDivorced / separated /widowedMarital status of parent / carer
  12. 12. 01020304050607080Nside Regen Sside Regen Disadv Area Average Area All Areas%parents/carersLower SecUp Sec / VocationalGraduateParent / carer: highest level ofeducational qualification
  13. 13. Main source of household income23.316.95187.545.476.783.146.912.554.10102030405060708090100NsideRegenSsideRegenDisadv Area AverageAreaAll Areas%parents/carersWages or salaries from workSocial Welfare PaymentsOther
  14. 14. Community social capital: Knowingand trusting most people0102030405060708090100NsideRegenSRegen Disadv Area AverageAreaAll Areas%parents/carersKnow mostTrust most
  15. 15. Rating of the neighbourhood as aplace to bring up a family05101520253035404550NsideRegenSsideRegenDisadvAreaAverageAreaAll Areas%parents/carersExcellentGoodAveragePoorVery poor
  16. 16. Child perceptions ofneighbourhood safety0102030405060708090100NsideRegenSsideRegenDisadvAreaAverageAreaAll Areas%childrespondentsI feel safe when I go outsideIm afraid to go outThere are lots of mean kidsliving here
  17. 17. Children’s wishes to stay ormove0102030405060708090100NsideRegenSsideRegenDisadv Area AverageAreaAll Areas%childrespondentsI like where Im livingI want to move
  18. 18. 0102030405060708090NsideRegenSSideRegenDisadvAreaAverageAreaAll Areas%respondentsExcellentGood - healthy a fewminor problemsFair - sometimes quiteillPoor - almost always illParent / carer’s assessment ofsample child’s health
  19. 19. Total difficulties scale (SDQ):Normality ranges and comparison29.133.314.8721.18 75.814.19.178.75865 52 76.1 86 70 87 850102030405060708090100NsideRegenSsideRegenDisadvAreaAverageAreaAll Areas US IRL%samplechildrenNormal 0-13Borderline 14-16Abnormal 17-40
  20. 20. Environmental Justice• Initial focus on inequalities in the exposure ofindividuals and communities to environmentalrisks and hazards, and, consequentlyenvironmental health• More recently broadened to include differences inthe availability of, and access to, environmentalresources• In the context of child poverty specifically,Hornberg and Pauli (2007) argue for a moreholistic interpretation, to include dimensions such:– The absence or degradation of green spaces andparks– Inequalities arising from aspects of the socio-economic environment e.g., differences in levels ofsocial capital and social networks
  21. 21. An issue of environmental justice?• Children in the regeneration areasexperience an environment which is deficientin many respects, including:– The lack of safe play areas– [Perceived] inability to go out in safety– Exposure to bullying and other negative peerpressures• This environment is created by wider socio-spatial processes– Polarisation of the labour market– Segregation in the housing market– Spatial concentration of social problems
  22. 22. An issue of environmental justice?• Children are the least independentlymobile section of the population andtherefore the most affected by the qualityof the neighbourhood environment• They are also relatively voiceless andpowerless• The environment in the regenerationestates may well be hazardous to theirhealth and development (the SDQ scale)
  23. 23. Summary• Problems createdby wider socialprocesses• Inability to influenceor to move away• Adverse and long-term effects onwell-being√√√
  24. 24. Regeneration to date:New housing in Moyross
  25. 25. Regeneration to date:Demolition and clearance in SouthillFebruary, 2010 April, 2013
  26. 26. Population change 2006-2011selected Electoral DistrictsED /RegenerationArea2006 2011 % ChangeBallynanty ED* /Moyross1,211 863 -28.8John’s A / St.Mary’s Park3,468 2,918 -15.9Galvone B /Southill1,558 878 -43.6Prospect B* /BallinacurraWeston1,031 751 -27.2* Not all of the ED lies within the regeneration boundaries
  27. 27. Conclusions• The regeneration programme has been a victim ofthe crisis: roughly €120m spent compared to€3.1b planned• No certainty that the planned building programmewould have succeeded – e.g., would social mixhave been achieved? – nevertheless...• Families now living in estates with high levels ofvacant / demolished buildings• New issues of threats to community services (e.g.crèches) due to declining numbers• Importance - as a matter of environmental justice -of retaining supports for these communities