Analysis & Comment

The latest in the UNICEF Innocenti Report Card Series, Worlds of Influence: Understanding What Shapes Child Well-being in Rich Countries, warns that the world's richest nations must protect child wellbeing in the post-Covid 19 fallout.

For the years 2020-2022, or until Ireland reaches full employment (if earlier than 2022), the fiscal stance adopted by Ireland should be determined by an unemployment target, rather than a deficit target, in recognition of the role domestic demand plays in sustaining domestic employment. The State should begin to plan now for the additional tax measures necessary, over the long-term, to finance the Government expenditure required to finance universal services and income supports for our citizens.

The Living Wage Technical Group has today announced that the Living Wage remains unchanged from 2020, at €12.30 per hour. The Technical Group, of which Social Justice Ireland is a member, has today published its Living Wage Annual Paper, Technical Document and Expenditure and Income TablesSocial Justice Ireland urges Government to begin the process of increasing the National Minimum Wage, which is €10.10 per hour, towards the Living Wage in Budget 2021.

Budget 2021 should be socially progressive and promote wellbeing.  This is key to a fair and inclusive recovery as we learn to live and work in a Covid-19 world.  Budgets represent what a government values and how they intend to meet their objectives. For Budget 2021 to be socially progressive it must ensure that nobody is left behind.  While developing a thriving economy is essential, it cannot be delivered without simultaneously working to provide decent services and infrastructure, just taxation, good governance and sustainability.

Tuesday, 15th September 2020 was UN Day of Democracy. Here we take a look at how Public Participation Networks help to deliver deliberative democracy for more capable communities and a sustainable society.

Social transfers are an effective policy tool in reducing income inequality in Ireland. Without social transfers, the proportion of the Irish population living at risk of poverty would be more than double what it currently is. Expenditure by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection accounted for 24 per cent of total Government expenditure in 2019, and 6 per cent of GDP. The Department recently published its Annual Statistical Report 2019 which contains a wealth of information on how this expenditure is distributed. 

The National Economic Plan - to be published on Budget day - must give equal weight to environmental, social and economic considerations. Otherwise, this Government will simply repeat the mistakes of the past and many will be left behind.  The National Economic Plan must be underpinned by a new social contract that treats our environment, society and economy equally

Ireland's Quarterly National Accounts, published earlier this week, serve to underline the detachment between many of Ireland's headline economic statistics and life on the ground.

Earlier this year, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 9 September the International Day to Protect Education from Attack. The announcement coincided with the fifth anniversary of the Safe Schools Declaration, which Ireland endorsed in May 2015. Education has been a focus for most countries in the context of the current pandemic, and correlations exist between educational attainment and rates of poverty and deprivation. In areas of armed conflict, the protection of education from attack can literally be a matter of life and death, as detailed in a recent report from the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack.

As children all over the country returned to school, the findings of the latest Survey from the Central Statistics Office - Social Impact of COVID-19 Survey August 2020: The Reopening of Schools – provides insights into the impact of #StayHomeStaySafe on children’s education.

Recent publications

Click  here to check out our Budget Choices 2021 Policy Briefing, and watch the video of the launch seminar.

'Building a New Social Contract – Policy Recommendations’ contains more than eighty specific policy recommendations that would go a considerable direction towards a new social contract to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of everyone and ensure that a no-one is left behind as our economy and society recovers from the impact of Covid-19.

The July Jobs Stimulus contains some welcome elements which have the potential to support businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises, to absorb the economic impact of Covid-19. However, it remains to be seen if the package is of the scale required to begin the process of real economic recovery for the many businesses impacted, to alleviate the financial hardship of households on reduced incomes and to secure medium-to-long-term societal wellbeing. Read our full analysis here.

A full analysis of the draft Programme for Government will be published in due course. In the meantime, our initial response highlights 10 positives contained within the PfG and 10 causes for concern. We go on to list other areas contained in the document on which Social Justice Ireland had advocated and campaigned.


‘A Rising Tide Failing to Lift All Boats’ is the latest publication in Social Justice Ireland’s European Research Series.   This report analyses performance in areas such as poverty and inequality, employment, access to key public services and taxation.  The report also points to key policy proposals and alternatives for discussion.  These include the right to sufficient income, meaningful work and access to essential quality services.  The policy proposals explore how these areas might be delivered upon in a changing world.

Recent podcasts/videos

Click  here to check out our Budget Choices 2021 Policy Briefing, and watch the video of the launch seminar.

Watch the videos from our 2020 Global Justice Day Seminar here. Professor Charles Clark of St John's University in New York and Colette Bennett, Research and Policy Analyst at Social Justice Ireland, launched our Sustainable Progress Index 2020.

Our 2019 Social Policy Conference was titled "The Challenges of Success" and looked at the appropriate policy responses to Ireland's changing demographics.
Click here to download slides and papers from the conference, watch videos of the presentations, see our handy summary graphics, or download the entire conference booklet for free.

Less than 24 hours after Minister Donohoe stood up in the Dáil to deliver his Budget speech, Social Justice Ireland published the first full and comprehensive analysis of Budget 2020.
Click here to read our analysis, or to view the video of our post-Budget 2020 seminar, delivered the morning after Budget Day.

Click here to read Budget Choices 2020, Social Justice Ireland's submission to government ahead of Budget 2020. You can also watch the video of the launch of Budget Choices 2020, where we go through the key details of our submission.