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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 believes strongly in the importance of developing a rights-based approach to social, economic, environmental, and cultural policy. Such an approach would go a long way towards addressing the inequality Ireland has been experiencing and should be at the heart of the development model for a just society. We believe that the next Programme for Government should acknowledge and recognise seven economic, social and cultural rights.

The latest official data on homelessness showed an increase in presentations to emergency accommodation in January 2020.  If Ireland is to hope to eradicate homelessness a more radical approach is required, looking to our peers in Finland as model of how it's done.

Early childhood is the stage where education can most effectively influence the development of children and help reverse disadvantage. The most striking feature of investment in education in Ireland relative to other OECD countries is its under-investment in early childhood education.  High quality educational experiences in early childhood contribute significantly to life-long learning success.  This sector needs to be supported by Government, financially and through policy, to ensure that all children have equal access to this success and all of the benefits of quality education.

The Government of the 33rd Dáil  won’t be able to solve all Ireland's challenges in just five years, but making the right choices can go a long way to delivering a fairer society with a better standard of living for everyone. This is why the next Programme for Government must deliver on five key areas: a vibrant economy, decent services and infrastructure, just taxation, good governance and sustainability. 

The expansion and contraction of capital spending on housing by central government demonstrates just how volatile this basic necessity for low-income families is, and how responsive to economic shocks. 

If a country is setting social, economic and environmental goals, it is important that taxation policy supports these goals. Ireland needs to have a real debate, not just about the levels of services and infrastructure it wishes to have in the coming decades, but also how these are to be financed. Just Taxation is one of the five key priority areas examined in Social Justice Matters: 2020 guide to a fairer Ireland. This report analyses ‘Just Taxation’ as one of five key priority areas required to build a fairer Ireland in an integrated and sustainable manner. 

Ireland's employment performance since the onset of the economic recovery has varied greatly by region. Unsurprisingly, Dublin is the best performer. Other regions fare less well, including the Mid-West (Clare, Tipperary and Limerick). The region has an unemployment rate above the national average, has seen a fall in overall jobs numbers in the last 2 years, and has also seen significant falls in labour force numbers and in participation levels.

Research by Safeguarding Ireland, released this month (13th February 2020), indicates that 80% of adults have not considered how they want to be cared for.  When asked to state a preference, 85% of adults surveyed stated a preference for care at home, with necessary supports.  However, the current level of Homecare supports in Ireland is grossly inadequate. Social Justice Ireland believes that substantial investment is required to support people to age well at home and that the introduction of a statutory right to homecare must be a priority.

The World Health Organisation, UNICEF and the Lancet Commission have just published a landmark report on the need to place children at the centre of the Sustainable Development Goals.  The report finds that despite dramatic improvements in survival, nutrition, and education over recent decades, today’s children face an uncertain future. Climate change, ecological degradation, migrating populations, conflict, pervasive inequalities, and predatory commercial practices threaten the health and future of children in every country. 

Ireland ranks 10th out of 15 comparable EU countries in this year’s Sustainable Progress Index, commissioned by Social Justice Ireland.  The index comprises three dimensions: economy, society and environment.  Ireland is ranked 11th out of the 15 countries on the economy dimension.  On the social index, Ireland is in the middle of the ranking, in 7th place.  Ireland, however, scores last on the environment index which suggests we are facing significant challenges in meeting our environmental targets.