Analysis & Comment

The link between poverty and ill-health is well established by international and national research. A World Health Organization Commission that reported in 2008 on the social determinants of health found that health is influenced by factors like poverty, food security, social exclusion and discrimination, poor housing, unhealthy early childhood conditions, poor educational status, and low occupational status. A look at the the Covid-19 geohive clearly shows just how much of a postcode lottery healthcare inequalities can be.


A new report on ‘Digital automation and the future of work’ examines the nature, scope and possible effects of digital automation in the EU.  It identifies threats to job quality and an unequal distribution of the risks and benefits associated with digital automation. It also offers some policy options that, if implemented, would help to harness technology for positive economic and social ends. Overall, the report pushes for a new Digital Social Contract and a future of work that works for all.

The latest Locked Out of the Market Report from the Simon Communities of Ireland shows that, contrary to expectation and an increase in supply, the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions did not lead to a significant increase in affordability in the private rental market in 2020.


Ireland ranks 11th out of 15 comparable EU countries in this year’s Sustainable Progress Index, commissioned by Social Justice Ireland.  The index comprises three dimensions: economy, society and environment.  Ireland is ranked 10th out of the 15 countries on the economy.  On the social index, Ireland is in the middle of the ranking, in 6th place.  Ireland, however, scores last on the environment index which suggests we are facing significant challenges in meeting our environmental targets.   Delivering on the Programme for Government commitments on climate action becomes even more important as a result of these findings.

The recent debacle surrounding the Covid-19 vaccine has highlighted the capacity of corporate transactions to undermine Governments and put critical services such as public health at risk. When things go wrong, as they invariably will when dealing with new drug processes, a new virus variant and a new political system, both nationally and internationally, the disparities in the public / private relationships are laid bare, where corporate profit is prioritised over public health. But health is not the only area at risk. 

The Central Bank issued its quarterly Residential Mortgage Arrears & Repossession Statistics report for Q3 2020. An analysis of this data indicates that, without tailored interventions, there are difficult times ahead for many households.

Eurostat data suggests that almost seven in ten people in Ireland are over-accommodated, that is, living in housing that is too large for their needs, while just 3.5 per cent of the population are living in overcrowded accommodation. This is ostensibly good news, however a closer analysis of the data shows the inequalities inherent in Ireland's housing system.


The past fifty years has been a period of falling taxes on the rich in developed economies.  A report by the London School of Economics and Political Science has found that reducing taxes on the rich leads to higher income inequality and has little or no impact on economic growth or unemployment.  The report finds major tax cuts for the rich since the 1980s have increased income inequality without any offsetting gains in economic performance.   It concludes that governments seeking to restore public finances following the COVID-19 crisis should therefore not be concerned about the economic consequences of higher taxes on the rich.
 

The Planning and Development, and Residential Tenancies, Act 2020 extended the moratorium on tenant evictions in certain circumstances, however the provisions disapplying this protection on the basis of arrears goes too far beyond what was intended and may result in unforeseen evictions.

A total of 657,076 people were either on the live register or in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) in the last week of January 2021 according to the latest release by the CSO. While we know the latest round of restrictions is responsible for the increase in numbers in receipt of the PUP, the number on the Live Register also increased by almost 4,800 in the year to January 2021. So what’s going on?

Recent publications

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.

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

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.