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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.

There is a large disparity between the rates of minimum incomes across the EU27 as show by new figures released by Eurostat, but that’s only part of the picture.

The link between poverty and ill-health is well established by international and national research. A World Health Organization Commission that reported in 2008 on the social determinants of health found that health is influenced by factors like poverty, food security, social exclusion and discrimination, poor housing, unhealthy early childhood conditions, poor educational status, and low occupational status. A look at the the Covid-19 geohive clearly shows just how much of a postcode lottery healthcare inequalities can be.


A new report on ‘Digital automation and the future of work’ examines the nature, scope and possible effects of digital automation in the EU.  It identifies threats to job quality and an unequal distribution of the risks and benefits associated with digital automation. It also offers some policy options that, if implemented, would help to harness technology for positive economic and social ends. Overall, the report pushes for a new Digital Social Contract and a future of work that works for all.

The latest Locked Out of the Market Report from the Simon Communities of Ireland shows that, contrary to expectation and an increase in supply, the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions did not lead to a significant increase in affordability in the private rental market in 2020.


Ireland ranks 11th 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 10th out of the 15 countries on the economy.  On the social index, Ireland is in the middle of the ranking, in 6th place.  Ireland, however, scores last on the environment index which suggests we are facing significant challenges in meeting our environmental targets.   Delivering on the Programme for Government commitments on climate action becomes even more important as a result of these findings.

The recent debacle surrounding the Covid-19 vaccine has highlighted the capacity of corporate transactions to undermine Governments and put critical services such as public health at risk. When things go wrong, as they invariably will when dealing with new drug processes, a new virus variant and a new political system, both nationally and internationally, the disparities in the public / private relationships are laid bare, where corporate profit is prioritised over public health. But health is not the only area at risk. 

The Central Bank issued its quarterly Residential Mortgage Arrears & Repossession Statistics report for Q3 2020. An analysis of this data indicates that, without tailored interventions, there are difficult times ahead for many households.

Eurostat data suggests that almost seven in ten people in Ireland are over-accommodated, that is, living in housing that is too large for their needs, while just 3.5 per cent of the population are living in overcrowded accommodation. This is ostensibly good news, however a closer analysis of the data shows the inequalities inherent in Ireland's housing system.


The past fifty years has been a period of falling taxes on the rich in developed economies.  A report by the London School of Economics and Political Science has found that reducing taxes on the rich leads to higher income inequality and has little or no impact on economic growth or unemployment.  The report finds major tax cuts for the rich since the 1980s have increased income inequality without any offsetting gains in economic performance.   It concludes that governments seeking to restore public finances following the COVID-19 crisis should therefore not be concerned about the economic consequences of higher taxes on the rich.
 

The Planning and Development, and Residential Tenancies, Act 2020 extended the moratorium on tenant evictions in certain circumstances, however the provisions disapplying this protection on the basis of arrears goes too far beyond what was intended and may result in unforeseen evictions.

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