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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.

Ageing will be a dominant theme in the 21st century according to The United Nations World Economic and Social Survey. How we think about ageing can impact the policies we introduce and the supports we deem necessary.  Dr. Diarmuid O'Shea (Irish Gerontological Society) presented on the theme of ageing as an opportunity to add healthy years to life at our Social Policy Conference and emphasised that health and social care expenditures for older people need to be seen as an investment, not a cost.

Today, Wednesday, 18th December 2019 is UN International Migrants' Day.  According to the CSO, some 12.7% of the population, 622,700 people, are non-Irish.  Earlier this month, Minister Charlie Flanagan welcomed 2,000 new citizens to Ireland in a citizenship ceremony in Kerry, while a reported 127,000 people have been conferred with Irish citizenship since 2011.  This is great news.  Ireland, with its history of emigration, should be a country of one hundred thousand welcomes.  However, as three reports published just this month show, we do not always welcome all equally.

Dr Elizabeth Nixon (TCD) gave a presentation on children’s lives in Ireland, including some key findings from the Growing Up In Ireland survey, at our recent Social Policy Conference. One of the key messages to emerge from the GUI data is that children in Ireland are generally doing very well in terms of their development. Notwithstanding this, a substantial minority of children are displaying difficulties across one or more developmental domains. Dr Nixon outlines with these difficulties are and also examines the role that family structure and family relationships play in children’s lives.   

The poverty rates for single person households have risen notably in the last decade, while they have fallen or remain more-or-less static for others. Increased poverty for those living alone is keeping Ireland's poverty rates high and presents a policy challenge for government.

At our 32nd annual Social Policy Conference last month, Mick Clifford (Irish Examiner, Irish Journalist of the Year 2016) interviewed Roddy Doyle, Booker Prize Winner in 1993, and one of Ireland's greatest living authors.

Language is important. How we talk about ageing and older people frames the way we think about them. And how we think shapes the policies we are prepared to support - Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE

The Government's over-use of the so-called 'money message veto' is undemocratic and is a mis-use of the Constitution. Politicians must distinguish fairly between bills whose primary purpose is to spend money and those which merely include some measure of indirect expenditure at the initial implementation stage.

We have declared a climate emergency and we are a self-confessed laggard on climate change.  But despite all the talk, where is the action?  The 2019 Emissions Gap Report just published by the UN Environment Programme outlines just how serious the situation is.  But it also points to actions that can be implemented.  The time for talking about climate action is over, Government needs to start implementing policy to bring about real change. 

More than 689,000 people are living in poverty in Ireland, of which over 200,000 are children. Despite moderate improvements in poverty rates and numbers, which are very welcome, there are an extra 36,000 people living in poverty in Ireland today compared to a decade ago.

Rebuilding Ireland srategy is not working. Given that this strategy fell far short of the scale of the response required in the first place, the failure to deliver the modest targets in all five pillars is a major indictment of Government policy. At our 32nd Annual Social Policy Conference, we reviewed the Government's housing strategy from the perspective of the young and old living in Ireland today and found it wanting.