The charity has helped over 86,500 children in the last ten years

A record number of children needed the help of Barnardos last year.

The children’s charity helped over 15,000 families in need according to its annual report, released this morning.

It means the charity has helped over 86,500 children in the last ten years.

The charity’s outgoing CEO, Fergus Finlay, said it is a “societal disgrace” that the organisation has to exist at all.

“I think it is reflective of a level of need in the community that really should not be there,” he said.

“There are far too many children in Ireland living in poverty and affected by poverty and affected by all the things that go hand-in-hand with poverty.

“It is a societal disgrace and shame in my view that organisations like us even have to exist – never mind have to work as hard as we do.”

Barnardos aims to transform children’s lives by supporting parents and challenging society when it fails children.

It provides practical and emotional supports to families in its 40 centres around the country – as well as in the homes, in the community and through the school environment.

"Throughout my time with Barnardos I have seen countless things you could describe only as heart-breaking,” said Mr Finlay.

“What I have also seen however, is unwavering dedication to the children and the families we work with – and a drive to provide the best opportunities and possibilities for the children in our care.

“Children come to Barnardos for a myriad of reasons, but each and every one is met with care and compassion.”