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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.

A poverty premium is the extra cost that low income households face when paying for the same goods, services and amenities as wealthier households. A Report commissioned by the U.K. charities Fair by Design and Turn2us, undertaken by the University of Bristol, and published in November 2020 found that low income households paid an extra £478 a year in poverty premiums in 2019.

A study entitled 'Robots, labor markets and universal basic income' published in December 2020 takes an interesting look at the effects of selected labour policies - automation and basic income - have on worker productivity. 


The CSO recently published 'Carers and Social Supports' as part of of the Irish Health Survey 2019 which gives data and insight into the lives of Carers in Ireland.  Almost one in eight people aged 15 and over provide care in Ireland, more women (4%) than men (11%) are carers, people in the age group 45-54 provide the most care, and, almost one in five carers report some form of depression.  


The CSO recently published the Irish Health Survey 2019.  Among the main findings of the survey are that a quarter of persons report having a long-lasting health condition, over a fifth (21%) of unemployed persons report some form of depression compared to 9% of employed people, 82% of females visited a GP in the previous 12 months compared to 68% of males and more than one in two people (56%) report they are overweight or obese. 

A publication on Social Housing in Ireland 2019 – Analysis of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Scheme released by the CSO in November 2020 indicates that some 57,630 households in need of social housing were accommodated in the private rented sector by the end of 2019. Social Justice Ireland has long-argued that this is not a sustainable housing model for low income households, given the recent volatility in the private rented sector, and continues to call on Government to increase the stock of social housing to 20 per cent of total housing stock by the year 2030.

The intergenerational reach of poverty and disadvantage is the topic of a recent release from the CSO (16th December 2020). This release found that those who had experienced financial or educational disadvantage in their teens (that is, having grown up in disadvantaged households) were more likely to be at risk of poverty or experiencing enforced deprivation than their wealthier peers.


At the European level, what the pandemic has cast doubt on is the very fundamentals of European integration. The main features of the European Union, what could be described as its “pillars”, are these: the single market and freedom of movement, the euro and the Stability and Growth Pact, and competition and state-aid law. We can already look ahead and see that the post-crisis EU could be standing on very different foundations if the questioning of the three basic pillars continues over time or, conversely, it could just as easily go back to its old ways.  What will the world environment in which this happens be, though? Here there are four possible scenarios emerging.


If Ireland is to succeed in addressing the challenges we are faced with, the pathway to doing so must be founded on consensus, must be well-managed, and must be properly evaluated.  A deliberative decision-making process, involving all stakeholders and founded on reasoned, evidence-based debate is required. 


A mature discussion needs to take place about the price of food and who pays for the additional production costs imposed by increased environmental and other conditions.This is an area where there is potential for collaboration between the environmental and agricultural lobby. Recent evidence of this can be found in the mutual opposition to the ratification of the Mercosur trade deal negotiated by the European Commission.


Public participation lies at the heart of the social contract, which has not always been a given in relation to environmental decision-making. Individuals and communities have come together to organise, mobilise and use legal mechanisms where necessary to protect their environment, working tirelessly to have their voices heard, whether they were formally invited to participate or not.

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