Analysis & Comment

A new Youth Homelessness Strategy is needed and must be focused on the housing exclusion of young people. Low pay, poverty, irregular work all play a part but access to affordable secure housing is integral to ensuring that a cohort of young people without adequate resources do not begin their adult lives as homeless. 

The latest NESC report, Digital Inclusion in Ireland: Connectivity, Devices & Skills, focuses on Digital Inclusion - what it is and why it's important. This Report provides key information for policymakers as we consider the world of work, education and social inclusion in an increasingly digital age.

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has published a report on the impact of the instruments and measures of the current Common Agricultural policy (CAP) 2014-2020 on the territorial development of rural areas, with a focus on socio-economic aspects including social inclusion.

How we plan our finances, and what we choose to prioritise, post-Covid-19, will have profound implications for the future of our economy and society. To this end Social Justice Ireland proposed to the Select Committee on Budgetary Oversight that the priorities for Budget 2022 should be adequate social welfare rates and poverty reduction, just taxation, housing for all and tackling unemployment. 

The Economic Recovery Plan announced today, while welcome, is not of the scale required to address the social, economic and environmental challenges that we now face. Covid-19 has brought extraordinary social and economic costs.  Alongside this, the challenges that existed pre-Covid remain and cannot be ignored

The issue of child poverty is again prominent in the European Commission agenda, with the publication of the Council Recommendation for Establishing a European Child Guarantee. In order to be successful, increased political focus is required and children must be at the heart of post-Covid recovery plans.  Increased European and national funding is also a prerequisite for success. 

The prospect of a return to high unemployment rates post pandemic is a daunting one and reiterates the need to ensure that the labour force is equipped and educated to meet the challenges ahead. 

Ireland has a lot of work to do to meet our 2030 targets. The Energy Charter Treaty (the Treaty) could hamper our progress even further. In 2018, Ireland was the first country in the world to divest from fossil fuels, however the Treaty will lock-in billions of euros worth of investments in oil, coal and gas. In Europe alone, the fossil infrastructure protected by the Treaty amounts to €344.6 billion – more than twice the EU annual budget. Social Justice Ireland, along with other international NGOs and civil society organisations has signed a statement asking the EU to pull out of the Treaty on environmental protection grounds.

Unemployment could exceed 390,000 according to the latest Social Justice Ireland Employment Monitor. That’s an unemployment rate of 16.1 per cent of the labour force. This would be the highest rate of unemployment since 1986, higher than 2012 at the height of the last recession.

The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) announced that it will lift the ban on disconnections of gas and electricity domestic customers for non-payment of an account from 1st June 2021, leaving many households with large arrears vulnerable. Ensuring homes are more energy efficient will go some way to ensuring lower costs in the future.

Recent publications

Employment Monitor is a briefing from Social Justice Ireland examining Ireland’s employment situation, including employment numbers, significant labour market trends, and other aspects of the macroeconomy. The purpose is to highlight selected trends and make recommendations with a focus on the policy goals of increasing employment, providing better working conditions, and creating a more just economic model and a fairer society.

In this issue we look at the impact of Covid-19 on employment in Ireland and, for those who do not expect to return to their previous job post-pandemic, the impact on unemployment in the coming years.

The Programme for Government committed to a Basic Income pilot in July last year. That November, the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce recommended a basic income for artists. On Wednesday, 12th May 2021, Social Justice Ireland set out our proposals on how these can be achieved. In case you missed it, you can check out the videos, presentations and papers now.

Social Justice Ireland has today submitted our 10 Point Plan to deliver Housing for Allas part of the Government's anticipated new housing strategy. Our proposals move away from housing as a commodity towards housing as a home, addressing deficits in homelessness prevention and supports; necessary increases in social housing provision; affordable housing; strengthening the private rented sector; and ensuring that housing developments are provide for sustainable communities. 

Poverty Focus examines the nature and experience of poverty in Ireland and sets out a series of solutions that could be adopted by Government.  Each year Poverty Focus highlights one area of concern while also commenting on the general policy landscape.  This year we pay particular attention to the impact of social welfare rates on low income households.

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.  

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.