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Protecting the vulnerable: poverty and social exclusion in ireland as the economic crisis emerged


  • Christopher T. Whelan

    (School of Sociology, University College Dublin)

  • Bertrand Maître

    (Economic and Social Research Institute)


A frequent refrain during recent debates on welfare cuts has related to the need to “protect the vulnerable”. However, it is far from clear that a consensus exists on which individuals or groups are to be included under this heading with consequent lack of clarity for the policy implications of pursuing this goal. In this paper, operating with a conception of social exclusion that incorporates notions of dynamics and multidimensionality, we make use of EU-SILC 2008 data for Ireland to clarify the distinction between income poverty and economic vulnerability. We then proceed to consider the relationship between these outcomes and multiple deprivation, financial pressures and perception of recent and future economic prospects. Our analysis is then extended to compare patterns of risk for poverty and vulnerability in relation to key socio-economic groups. Finally, we will consider the relationship between poverty and vulnerability and scale and form of welfare dependence. Our analysis suggests that the vulnerable but non-poor group may need to be a key focus of attention for any conception of social policy as active rather than passive; as involving social investment rather than social assistance.

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  • Christopher T. Whelan & Bertrand Maître, 2010. "Protecting the vulnerable: poverty and social exclusion in ireland as the economic crisis emerged," Working Papers 201023, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:201023

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jana Stavkova & Nada Birciakova & Jana Turcinkova, 2012. "Material Deprivation in Selected EU Countries according to EU SILC Income Statistics," MENDELU Working Papers in Business and Economics 2012-19, Mendel University in Brno, Faculty of Business and Economics.
    2. Christopher T. Whelan & Bertrand Maitre, 2012. "Identifying Childhood Deprivation: How Well Do National Indicators of Poverty and Social Exclusion in Ireland Perform?," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 43(2), pages 251-272.
    3. repec:esr:resser:bkmnext226 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Jason Loughrey & Cathal O’Donoghue, 2012. "The Welfare Impact of Price Changes on Household Welfare and Inequality 1999-2011," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 43(1), pages 31-66.

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