The Covid-19 pandemic 'unmasked' food poverty and was more harmful to those living in disadvantaged areas, according to the findings of two studies by the Childhood Development Initiative.

The CDI works to implement prevention and early intervention programmes to improve outcomes for children, families and communities in Tallaght and throughout Ireland.

Its research shows that service providers became more aware of the extent and depth to which many families experienced food poverty during the pandemic in disadvantaged areas.

Families were also more likely to experience social isolation, especially those not in paid employment, which had a negative impact on their well-being and that of their children.

The studies also show that problems with digital access led to increased social isolation and had a negative impact on children attempting to access online learning.

CDI Data Specialist and article author Jefrey Shumba said the research provided evidence that the pandemic produced issues for low-income households, impacting them emotionally and financially.

"They had problems with social isolation and could not afford digital access for their children’s education," Mr Shumba said.

"However, a lot was discovered regarding the most effective way to assist these families, and we anticipate that the results of this research will have an influence, particularly given the Government’s intention to address child poverty."