At a briefing to Oireachtas Members the Community and Voluntary Pillar (CVP) called on the Government to make decisions that are fair and just, that protect the vulnerable and ensure that the cost of Ireland’s restructuring is fairly spread. Social Justice Ireland is a member of the Community and Voluntary Pillar.
The CV Pillar spokesperson noted that “a society defines itself by the cuts it makes and the people it protects”. Much of the public debate in recent months has been dominated by a narrative that suggests Ireland has no choices: this is untrue. Difficult choices face Ireland but options do exist. Choices exist even within the terms of Ireland’s Bailout Agreement with the ‘Troika’.
At the briefing (October 23, 2012) a spokesperson continued “The Troika on several occasions has said that it is the duty of Government to protect the vulnerable in the adjustments being made in Ireland”.
The CV Pillar believes that the decisions made by Government should be made on the basis of the answer to a single question: where should Ireland be in ten years’ time? The core values that should inform the answer to this question are: human dignity, sustainability, equality and human rights and the common good.
The CV Pillar proposes seven key initiatives it believes should be part of a strategic approach to resolving Ireland’s current problems in Budget 2013 and beyond. The CVP is calling on the Government to:
- Ensure protection of the vulnerable is at the core of all decisions made.
- Bring Ireland’s total tax-take up to European average levels.
- Reverse the current ratio of tax increases to expenditure cuts.
- Dramatically increase investment which is essential to generate the jobs that are essential for recovery. (This can be done in a way that keeps it off the Budget arithmetic.)
- Protect the social infrastructure that is under severe pressure currently. This is crucial for services across the life-cycle from children to people of working age to older people to people with disabilities.
- Support the Community and Voluntary sector which provides a wide range of services but is currently being undermined by Government’s decisions to cut its funding as the demand for its services increase.
- Engage with the Community and Voluntary Pillar to promote social dialogue and good governance.