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Policy Issues Home

A wide range of material on many policy issues is available on this page.  This includes both material and commentary from Social Justice Ireland and material from other sources.  The policy issues are listed alphabetically in the menu on this page.

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.