Father Peter McVerry who has spent years working with people in poverty sees a new poor in Irish society.

Fr Peter McVerry talks about the new poor and how they have lost dignity and self-respect as a result of how they are treated by society.

Born in Newry, County Down in 1944, Peter McVerry joined the Jesuit Order in 1962. After ordination he worked with young people in Dublin's inner city. Four years ago he went to live and work in the high rise flats in Ballymun and has observed first hand the experience of people living with poverty.

Fr Peter McVerry has spent the last 13 years of his life working and living among the poor of Dublin. While he acknowledges that there have been improvements in the lives of the poor, he also points out that certain things have happened to make poverty even more unbearable.

He believes that poverty takes away people's dignity and self respect. Fr Peter McVerry points to the destruction of communities as a contributing factor in the loss of people's coping mechanisms. Today the poor are a minority in society who see a standard of living completely beyond their expectations.

What is being communicated to them in this new situation is that really they don't count in this society, that society doesn't give a damn about them, that nobody cares.

Fr Peter McVerry says that you only have to visit the Labour Exchange or the courts to see the way in which poor people are treated. These are examples of how society says to poor people that they do not count which in turn destroys their dignity and self respect.

To a large extent, what respect I have for myself is given to me by others.

This episode of 'Hanly's People' was broadcast on 18 May 1987. The presenter is David Hanly.

'Hanly's People’ was a weekly programme featuring a guest in conversation with presenter David Hanly in a living-room setting for half an hour. Each guest was someone in the news, making the news, or behind the news. They were drawn from all spheres of public life, including politics and the arts. ‘Hanly’s People’ was first broadcast on 6 October 1986 and ended on 6 June 1991.