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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.

As the first Budget of the Government of the 33rd Dáil approaches in October, it is interesting and instructive to analyse the distributional impact of tax and benefit changes that were implemented by the government of the last Dáil in the government's annual budget. Herein, we analyse the effects of the four budgets on households across Irish society.

Ireland has an increasingly ageing population and it is imperative, both from the perspective of the individual and the supporting structures, that ageing in place becomes the default approach.

One of the objectives of Budget 2021 must be to support demand through Government capital expenditure.  In order to support investment and recovery, it is important that this capital spending is sustainable.  


Government should increase in core social welfare rates of €7 per week in Budget 2021 and set a three-year target for Government to reach the benchmark of 27.5 per cent of average earnings.  In the forthcoming Budget Government should also complete the equalisation of Jobseeker’s rates for young people under 26, introduce a cost of disability allowance and introduce a universal state pension.

People should be assured of the required treatment and healthcare in their times of illness and vulnerability. The standard of care available is dependent to a great degree on the resources made available, which in turn are dependent on the expectations of society. Covid-19 put an unprecedented strain on our healthcare system, however the systemic issues and overreliance on acute services which dominated the Irish healthcare infrastructure pre-Covid only served to exacerbate the problem.

As we navigate through the global crisis caused by Covid-19, it is clear that our communities, rural areas and regions will bear a significant social and economic impact over the long-term.  Here we outline rural and regional investment priorities for Budget 2021.

The effects of COVID-19 will take the heaviest toll on the most vulnerable, both nationally and internationally.  The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - a series of 17 high level goals based on 169 targets and over 230 indicators can provide a framework to refocus efforts towards policies to directly help people and communities in the long run and to provide a pathway out of poverty.  In our latest policy briefing, we look at Ireland's progress towards the SDGs and provide a series of policy recommendations to improve it.

The provision of adequate and appropriate accommodation should be a key element of a new Social Contract. Here we look at how Budget 2021 could begin the process of a new, sustainable, housing strategy.

As we look towards the future and rebuilding our society and our economy we have the opportunity to ensure that our investment strategy reduces carbon emissions, creates a vibrant society and economy, and supports a just transition. Here we outline investment priorities for Budget 2021.

Though Ireland faces a number of significant challenges, it is important to remember that hundreds of millions of people in much poorer countries face a far worse situation. Budget 2021 should at least maintain the nominal financial amount of overseas aid, and - given the inevitable fall in GNI* - could even be used as an opportunity to make inroads on Ireland's UN target.

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