Analysis & Comment


Social Justice Ireland 
welcomes the announcement that the Low Pay Commission has been give terms of reference to investigate how Ireland can move towards a living wage.  In principle, a Living Wage is intended to establish an hourly wage rate that should provide employees with enough income to achieve an agreed acceptable minimum standard of living.  


The Government’s Stability Programme Update raises major challenges for Ireland on debt, infrastructure, taxation and services.  Social Justice Ireland believes a new approach is required if these challenges are to be addressed effectively.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought enormous uncertainty to the Irish labour market and consequently to many families throughout the country. As this article outlines, the pandemic’s labour market impact has been uneven, in particular when judged across age groups, genders and sectors of employment. Furthermore, the uncertainty remains and many of the challenges will only truly reveal themselves as the pandemic’s disruption recedes.


Over the past few years Social Justice Ireland has developed its ability to track the distributive impact of annual Budgets on households across Irish society. Our analysis tracks changes from year to year (pre and post each Budget) and across a number of recent years.  As different policy priorities can be articulated for each Budget, it is useful to bring together the cumulative effect of policy changes on various household types.

New research from Canada indicates that adults who first experienced homelessness in childhood are more likely to experience precarious housing, even with Housing First Supports. This highlights the need for additional policy interventions to support the 3,000 children and young people in Ireland accessing emergency homeless accommodation today.

The need for a wider tax base is a lesson painfully learnt by Ireland during the last economic crisis. A disastrous combination of a naïve housing policy, a failed regulatory system, and foolish fiscal policy and economic planning caused a collapse in exchequer revenues. It is only through a strategic and determined effort to reform Ireland’s taxation system that these mistakes can avoided in the future.


Social Justice Ireland
believes in the very important role that social welfare plays in addressing poverty.  Without the social welfare system just over 4 in every 10 people in the Irish population (41.4 per cent) would have been living in poverty in 2019.  In 2021, as we plan future budgetary priorities, it is important that adequate levels of social welfare be maintained to ensure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated.

Many simply need more housing than they can afford at market rates. With more of us renting into the future, it’s vitally important that affordable rental is seriously explored.  A cost rental model would be a major step in that direction.   

Before we had ever heard of Covid-19, Ireland faced a number of significant challenges. Among the biggest were those posed by inequality. Policymakers must acknowledge that a thriving economy is not a goal in itself but a means to social development and wellbeing for all. 


Social Justice Ireland
welcomes the publication of ‘Our Rural Future’ by Government.  In particular we welcome the comprehensive approach of the strategy, which encompasses the economic, social and environmental aspects of rural development.  Rural Ireland is a valuable resource with much to contribute to Ireland’s future social, environmental and economic development.  Government must deliver the resources, services and infrastructure necessary to make ‘Our Rural Future’ a success.

Recent publications


Social Justice Matters 2021 guide to a fairer Irish Society provides a key reference point for anybody working on Irish social justice issues in 2021.  

Measuring Progress: The Sustainable Progress Index 2021 ranks 15 comparable EU countries based on their delivery of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  Written by Prof. Charles M.A. Clark of St John’s University, NY and Dr. Catherine Kavanagh of UCC, the index compares 15 EU countries across all UN SDGs, assesses their performance on each individual SDG and creates a ranking table for performance overall. In case you missed the launch, all presentations are now available to stream.

Since early 2014, the PPNs have evolved, from the initial Introduction Period, through the Development Period to the Consolidation Period (Bourke, 2017) and are now firmly established and recognised as the main conduit by which Local Authorities engage with their communities, with a membership of more than 15,000 organisations from the Community and Voluntary, Social Inclusion and Environmental sectors (Department of Rural and Community Development, 2019). This research is based on a survey of relevant stakeholders and their experience of the participation processes at local government level. 

'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.

On Wednesday, 18th November 2020, Social Justice Ireland held our Annual Social Policy Conference by webinar. This year's theme was 'A New Social Contract, A New Social Dialogue: Building a Better Future'. In case you missed it (or you'd like to revisit the presentations), the videos, papers and graphic reports are all available now.

Recent podcasts/videos

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

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.

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.