A new report published by Social Justice Ireland claims that one sixth of the population are living in poverty in Ireland.

The report says the Government and policy makers should acknowledge that Ireland has an ongoing poverty problem and that the social welfare system is not fit for purpose.

It recommends that the Government should move towards increasing the total tax take to 34.9% of GDP by broadening the tax base.

The report entitled 'Shaping Ireland's Future' analyses the economic factors facing the Irish public and the current Government's policies.

It found that more than 700,000 people are living in poverty in Ireland, 200,000 of whom are children, and that having a job is not a guarantee that one lives in a poverty-free household.

The report found that the poorest 10% of households have an average disposable income of €210 a week, compared to an average of €2,276 a week for the richest 10% of households.

It claims that Ireland can increase its tax take but still remain a low-tax economy.

Third level fees and student loans based on salary after graduation, are also proposed in the report.

Director of Social Justice Ireland Fr Sean Healy said 40,200 Irish people have left the country in the last 12 months and that the austerity programme is contributing to Ireland's loss of young people.

Youth unemployment is at 30% and Fr Healy said the increase of long-term unemployment has been a major policy failure in Ireland.

The group is proposing a major investment programme and a programme aimed specifically at those who are long-term unemployed.