Analysis & Comment

New figures released from Eurostat show the share of childcare workers and teachers’ aides as a percentage of the total employed population was 1.0% in the EU in 2020. Among the EU Member States, Ireland had the joint second largest share of people employed in this profession (2.3 per cent). The pandemic has highlighted the importance of this industry and the importance of ensuring that staff are supported and as such, Social Justice Ireland believes that childcare staff should earn a decent wage and that Government should ensure that subsidies aimed at improving the conditions of childcare staff are not used to increase costs to parents.

New research on progress by 23 developed countries towards the climate finance commitments made in Copenhagen in 2009 to reach $100 million a year by 2020 suggests that just 3 countries are paying their way. Ireland is not one of them.

Budget 2022 is not the time for fiscal retrenchment.  Instead Government should provide the necessary resources for housing, climate and the revised NDP.  The choices Government makes in Budget 2022 must be focused on building a future that is prosperous, sustainable and fair.

A recent report from the CSO, Domestic Building Energy Ratings from a Social Perspective 2016 examined data from the last census to identify households that have the least energy efficient homes and who may also not be in a position to undertake the costs associated with any retrofitting work that is required to make the move towards a low-carbon economy.

Mitigating the impact of Covid-19 learning loss on our children and young people requires significant, long-term resourcing. It is vital that the Covid Learning and Supports Scheme is extended beyond the current timeline and expanded to deal with the long-term impacts of learning losses due to Covid-19 induced school closures.

The latest release from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) indicates that Ireland's population is now over 5 million as of April 2021, the highest since 1851. While almost two thirds of the population are of working age, more than 1 in 7 are aged 65 or over, an increase of 112,500 on 2016. Social Justice Ireland has continuously highlighted the need for policies to adapt to the needs of an increasing and ageing population and for policymakers to tackle the challenge of demographic change.

Social Justice Ireland is calling on Government to increase in core social welfare rates by €10 per week in Budget 2022 and to commit to benchmarking core social welfare rates to 27.5 per cent of average earnings over two years. Government must not to leave those on social welfare behind for a third successive budget. 

The Government has published its long-awaited housing strategy – Housing for All – with a budget of €20 billion over the next five years. Housing for All consists of four pathways: Supporting homeownership and increasing affordability; Eradicating homelessness, increasing social housing delivery and supporting social inclusion; Increasing new housing supply; and Addressing vacancy and efficient use of existing stock. There is much to welcome in the Strategy, however fundamental flaws in the targets for social housing and overall construction; a lack of real measures to prevent homelessness; and a continuation of subsidies such as Help to Buy and HAP raise questions as to who will really benefit. Our Review of the Housing for All Strategy is available now.

The Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change paints an ominous picture.  Unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to close to 1.5°C or even 2°C will be beyond reach.

Given the current state of government finances, a review of Ireland’s approach to tax expenditures is urgently needed.

Recent publications

Our pre-budget submission, '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.

Social Welfare Rates: Budget 2022 outlines the case for Benchmarking and Indexation of Social Welfare Rates in Budget 2022.

The Government published its long-awaited Housing for All Strategy on Thursday, 2nd September 2021. While there is much to welcome within the Strategy, a lack of ambition on social housing, homelessness prevention and overall construction risks, and a continued reliance on the private rented sector, risks more of the same in housing policy. Read our Review of the Housing for All Strategy now. 

‘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. 

Recent podcasts/videos

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.

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.