Analysis & Comment


Social Justice Ireland’s report ‘Ireland and the Europe 2020 Strategy - A review of the social inclusion aspects of Ireland’s National Reform Programme’ has found that overall, current trends in Irish public policy are running counter to the promotion of ‘inclusive growth,’ which is one of the three key priorities which underlie the Europe 2020 Strategy. 
 


Citizen participation and building real engagement at local level is vital to re-engage people in the democratic process.  Ensuring that people are involved in making the decisions that affect them and their communities is a key element of real democracy. True involvement requires participation that goes beyond voting and representative democracy.

The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted a number of aspects of the welfare state and the importance of properly provided and funded public services in countries across the world. Among the many lessons in this country, the crisis has highlighted the importance of the social safety net that is our social welfare system.

Budget 2022 needs to prepare Irish society for the inevitable social and public policy challenges that are likely to appear as the pandemic subsides. Among the most visible of these will be challenges associated with work, unemployment and job creation.

The Central Bank of Ireland published a series of papers this week on the subject of mortgage arrears. One of these papers 'Long-term mortgage arrears: Analytical evidence for policy considerations' clearly shows that for many mortgage borrowers, the impact of the 2008 financial crash is still being felt. Government needs to invest in equity supports that benefit those who need them most, beginning with those in arrears of more than 10 years in Budget 2022.

On Wednesday, 14th July 2021, the Government published the Summer Economic Statement, setting out the economic position prior to Budget 2022. Social Justice Ireland welcomes the commitment to increased capital spending but warns that a focus on deficit reduction over decent services and infrastructure will lead to austerity.


Social Justice Ireland is proposing a €10 increase in core social welfare payments in Budget 2022. This would set Government on the correct path to benchmark social welfare rates to 27.5 per cent average weekly earnings over a two-year period, which was the standard set in 2007.  Budget 2021 was the second budget in a row which failed to deliver an increase to the minimum social welfare payment.  A repetition of this failure in Budget 2022 would leave those who are most vulnerable in a very difficult position and see them fall further behind.


Ireland has exceeded its the EU targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions for 2013-2020 by 12.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, and meeting our 2030 targets will be challenging according to new projections from the Environmental Protection Agency for Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions for 2020 to 2040.

Social Justice Ireland’s income model tracks the distributive impact of annual budgets on households across Irish society. As different priorities can be articulated for each Budget, it is useful to bring together the cumulative effect of policy changes across a number of years.

Despite significant progress over the past few months, Ireland remains in a period of enormous uncertainty. Optimistic assumptions point towards a rebound in economic activity and employment from late 2021 or early 2022. Conversely, pessimistic assumptions fear ongoing public health related disruptions and a slow emergence from the Covid-19 crisis. Most likely, the reality lies somewhere in between - but there are limited clues as to where.

Recent publications

‘Ireland and the Europe 2020 Strategy - A review of the social inclusion aspects of Ireland’s National Reform Programme’ covers three of the five headline targets established in the Europe 2020 Strategy and addressed in the Irish National Reform Programme, namely, employment, education and ‘poverty and social exclusion’.  It is the latest in a series that since 2011 has tracked Ireland’s performance on achieving its own targets in the Europe 2020 Strategy.

‘Social Justice Matters Policy Brief’ is a series designed to provide independent and in-depth analysis on important social policy issues and to present policy options that should be prioritised in the coming years.  In this issue we look at the importance of community and participation, at local, regional and national levels. 


Budget Choices 2022 contains detailed, fully-costed Budgetary packages across more than a dozen policy areas including health, housing, education, welfare, sustainability and more; it also contains a range of costed, revenue-raising proposals.

The Programme for Government contained several commitments which, if fully resourced and implemented, would represent significant steps towards creating a fairer and more just Ireland. As we emerge into a new post-Covid reality, our latest National Social Monitor looks at whether Government is delivering on its commitments in key areas and suggests that, so far, Government’s achievements are not matching its commitments. 


‘Social Justice Matters Policy Brief’ is a series designed to provide independent and in-depth analysis on important social policy issues and to present policy options that should be prioritised in the coming years.  In this issue we look at the impact of Covid-19 on education at primary level and second level in Ireland.   

Recent podcasts/videos

Less than 24 hours after Ministers Donohoe and McGrath stood up in the Convention Centre to deliver the Budget speech, Social Justice Ireland published the first full and comprehensive analysis of Budget 2021. Click here to read our analysis, or to view the video of our post-Budget 2021 seminar, delivered the morning after Budget Day.

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.