The shocking image has sparked outrage online, with many questioning how a young child has become in such a plight. It was taken at a soup kitchen in Dublin, where the girl eats her only hot meal a day.
In the poignant picture, the youngster squats on a plastic crate to tuck into the stew.
Volunteers at the soup kitchen told Dublin Live the government are to blame for such upsetting scenes.
After dishing out dinners to families living in emergency accommodation near Ballymun Soup Run in North Dublin, the group uploaded this photo online with the caption: “Our Government are to blame for this.”
It stated: “It’s so normal that they pop down for dinner, it’s sad. No cooking facilities, what option has mammy got?
“Chippers are bad every day for young children. And not cheap either. It’s sad.”
Tony Walsh, co-founder of the charity Feed Our Homeless, said: “This photo of a young child eating her dinner sitting on a crate on the streets of Dublin is certainly shameful and unnacceptable. No child or any individual should have to sit on the streets like this eating their dinner because they have no place to call home.
“Shame on our Government. When will enough be enough? Ireland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
“We should not have a housing and homeless crisis like the one we have.”
There are 8,238 people homeless in Ireland alone, according to the latest statistics from the Department of Housing.
Figures for February 2021 show a slight drop in adults on the streets from 5,987 to 5,974, with the number of homeless children now at 2,264 and 935 families.
The volunteer who took the photograph earlier this week said she had “no words”.
She added: “Our Government should hang their heads in shame.
“A four-year-old baby and one of the only places they have to have a home-cooked meal is our team?
“These children should have a kitchen table to sit at and have dinner, not on the ground on a crate at our soup kitchen.