The leader of the Church of Ireland has said food banks should not be necessary in a society that looks after its weakest members as a matter of course.
Archbishop of Armagh Richard Clarke also told his church's General Synod that austerity, on both sides of the border, is assaulting the poor more than the wealthy.
He delivered his Presidential address to hundreds of lay and clerical members of the Synod gathered from throughout the island in Dublin's Christchurch Cathedral.
Dr Clarke suggested that church members would want to be seen as a giving people.
While sympathising with politicians trying to find money in insolvent economies, he said the poor are getting poorer and, in some cases, destitute.
He asked if the acceptance of food banks as necessary back-ups to State support should not trigger a sense of shame.
He said they should not be necessary in a society that looked after its weakest members as a matter of course.
Pleading for a political vision that gives to the future, he criticised political paralysis in Northern Ireland, a culture of entitlement for those who in the Republic of Ireland already have plenty; and an austerity that assaults the poor more than the wealthy in both jurisdictions.
Archbishop Clarke also said there is a massive need for foster homes and urged those who believe they have the emotional strength to offer one to do so.