Ireland's Catholic bishops have warned that a blame game is not the answer to the crisis in the country's health system which they claim is the result of "a fundamental failure of politics".

A week before polling, the bishops say they share many citizens' anxieties about what they term "an uncertain social climate".

In a pre-election statement the Catholic Bishops of Ireland say most people feel great unease about the health care system and recall that successive governments have presented a variety of solutions which, in many cases, have either failed or not been implemented.

A blame game is not the answer, they caution.

What they call the "crisis of homelessness" results in hotel-room living that is unsuitable for families and there is a consensus that adequate and affordable social housing is essential.

The real inequality in Irish schools is economic - not religious - they say, adding that "Ireland is still marred by the neglect of children and the lack of opportunity for the most deprived, including Travellers". 

What they term "a criminal industry of death" is unscrupulously flooding our streets and children with drugs and they foresee people willingly supporting a strengthening of An Garda Síochána.

Finally, the bishops endorse the Constitution's embrace of the right to life of the unborn child and strongly oppose any weakening of what they term "that fundamental affirmation of equality".