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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.

Basic Income is back on the agenda. Social Justice Ireland were delighted to take part in Basic Income Ireland's Annual Forum - Basic Income, Social Justice and Sustainability - discussing how a Universal Basic Income could be integrated into plans for a Just Transition. We were also interested to note that the Scottish National Party have included Basic Income as part of its plans for an independent Scotland.

In the latest episodes of our podcast, Social Justice Matters, we revisit our Basic Income conference from 2016 to hear from Social Justice Ireland founders Brigid Reynolds and Dr. Seán Healy on why now is the time to grasp the nettle. You can also listen to a short tutorial on Basic Income: the what, the why and the how. Listen in from our website, on Spotify, iTunes, PodBean, or Podcast Republic.

What are the ten trends shaping the future of work?  How are these trends transforming what people do for a living; how they do it; what skills they need; where they perform their work; how work relations are structured; and how work is organised, distributed and rewarded?

The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has launched a public consultation to review Ireland’s sustainable mobility (active travel and public transport) policy “to ensure services are sustainable into the future and are meeting the needs of a modern economy”. The public consultation, which closes on the 24th January 2020, is open to all stakeholders including the public.  

On Tuesday, 12th November 2019, President Michael D. Higgins hosted a seminar entitled "Rethinking Economics:  The Role of the State in Fostering a Sustaiable and Inclusive Economy".

In his opening remarks, he cautioned "the prevailing neoliberal model which features markets without regulation, distorted trade and unrestricted globalisation, the priority of the price mechanism and the practice of commodification, speculative investment, and which results in unbridled consumption, yawning inequality and destructive extraction of natural resources is unsustainable from economic, environmental and social standpoints."

We have been analysing and critiquing the Government’s annual budget since 1988, outlining proposals in advance and providing detailed analysis when the Budget is announced. Here, we draw attention to some of the policy areas where progress has been made.

Budget 2020 does not contain the ‘bold and new decisions’ required to meet the ‘defining challenge’ of climate change, and there was no progress on examining subsidies that the CSO has highlighted as potentially environmentally damaging.

Social Justice Ireland has repeatedly called for increased scrutiny of tax expenditures as part of the budgetary process. We regret that in Budget 2020, at a time when the Minister for Finance has made a point of repeatedly noting the scarcity of available resources, government has ignored a real opportunity to increase the total tax-take whilst making the tax system fairer.

In allocating just €2m of additional funding to the RTB for investigating and sanctioning non-compliance with the Rent Pressure Zone measures, and no additional funding for rent inspections and sanctions under other landlord and tenant legislation, the Government has shown that they are not serious about protecting tenants. 

Social Justice Ireland welcomes the Budget 2020 decision to increase the carbon tax from €20 per tonne to €26 per tonne. This is the first significant increase in the tax since it was introduced almost one decade ago, and we also welcome the commitment to ringfence the revenue to deal with the transition to a more carbon neutral economy.

As the DEASP announces some key design features of its proposed Automatic Enrolment pension scheme, our analysis suggests that AE represents poor value for money, with minimal benefit to the State unless the long-term plan is to run down the value of the State pension and force people to rely on their private savings.

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