Home > Over the fence: perspectives on and experiences of child poverty in Tallaght.

Shumba, J and Quinn, M and Nic Carthaigh, C and Leitao, C (2021) Over the fence: perspectives on and experiences of child poverty in Tallaght. Dublin: Childhood Development Initiative.

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The objectives of this study were:

  • To review selected literature and draw comparisons of child poverty indicators at Ireland level, South Dublin County level, and/or Tallaght level.
  • To explore how children, young people, and families in Tallaght understand and experience child poverty.
  • To engage children, young people, and families on how to reduce the impact of child poverty and improve outcomes for children in Tallaght.
  • To explore the impact of Covid-19 on children, young people, and families in Tallaght.


A secondary analysis and focus group discussions were used to achieve the objectives of this study. Focus Group Discussions (FGD) were conducted with children (9 to 18 years; N=50), parents (N=17) and service providers (N=20) in Tallaght. In total, we conducted ten FGDs; six FGDs with children and young people, two with parents and two with service providers.


Key findings from this study include:

  • A positive and strong sense of community existed in children and families in Tallaght. Broadly children and parents had positive experiences and views of Tallaght including a sense of belonging, community working together and availability of ser ices to assist families in need.
  • Income poverty is a key driver of household poverty. Income poverty is associated with deprivation in material well-being, food poverty, housing, access to health services and education. Children living in low-income households were more likely to experience poor mental health and socio-emotional outcomes.
  • Participants described the housing crisis in Tallaght as deepening and having far reaching consequences. Parents experiencing housing challenges also referenced experiencing mental health challenges which subsequently affected the parent-child relationship. Children who experienced homelessness and housing challenges experienced negative socio-emotional outcomes and mental health challenges, which have long term consequences for children and parents. Parents viewed inflexible procedures in the allocation of social housing and the underdevelopment of housing in Tallaght compared to surrounding areas as the key causes of the housing challenges.
  • Mental health difficulties emerged as a big challenge for both children and parents. Parents and children experienced mental health difficulties which included depression, anxiety, isolation, general stress, and suicidal ideation. Experiencing mental health difficulties was linked to income inadequacy, experiencing homelessness and drug abuse. Services which offer mental health support systems in Tallaght were perceived to be inadequate for both children and parents.
  • Covid-19 has impacted various areas of well-being for children and families including material well-being, socioemotional well-being, and access to education. Families experienced a spike in food poverty, children and parents experienced mental health difficulties and children could not afford essential resources for accessing online education.
  • Neighbourhood safety appeared to be a major concern for families and children in Tallaght with cases of robberies, break-ins and stealing perceived to be on the rise. There was also a perceived high prevalence of antisocial behaviour and bullying in the neighbourhoods of Tallaght. The apparent erosion of a sense of community and responsibility in children and young people was suggested as being a major factor leading to antisocial behaviour.
  • Child poverty is a multidimensional concept and some cohorts of population experience poverty more than others. These include children with disabilities, migrant families, families living in Direct Provision, young families and parents raising a family alone

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