Forum aims to tackle poverty in Belfast

Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said poverty in Belfast had to be tackled

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Key representatives of the community and voluntary sectors have come together to tackle the issue of poverty in Belfast.

The Civic Forum on Poverty is the first such event to be held in the city.

Its aim is to look at ways to support those in need.

"I think it's crucial to send out a statement from the city of Belfast, from all the people of Belfast, that poverty is unacceptable," Lord Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said.

"The extreme poverty associated with food banks, which is a new phenomenon in Belfast, is something we wish to see tackled.

"For that reason we have brought together 150 of the top people in the city who are engaged in the war against poverty and working to stem this poverty crisis."

Mr Ó Muilleoir said he would like to see more focus on dealing with the problem.

"We spend a lot of time in the city of Belfast talking about flags and that's okay, but we need to spend as much time, and more time, speaking about the crisis of poverty," he said.

"Today, when we bring into one room those who are headlining and highlighting the battle against poverty, plus all the government agencies, I hope we can marshal our forces and wage an even more effective war to eliminate poverty in our city."

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