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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.

While Ireland faces a number of challenges, including deficits in our public services and infrastructure, unacceptable rates of poverty, and high national debt, it is important to remember that many people in the world face a far worse situation.  It is important that Ireland plays an active and effective part in promoting sustainable development in the Global South and that all of Ireland’s policies are consistent with such development.  Read Social Justice Ireland's Election Briefing on Global South and ODA for an outline of a number of key challenges and some policy proposals that should be in the next Programme for Government.

Some of the key challenges facing rural Ireland are an older population, higher poverty rates and greater distances from every day services compared to urban areas.  If we want viable rural communities in all parts of Ireland what is possible in the next five years and what policy proposals would move us forward?  

Read Social Justice Ireland's Election Briefing on Rural Ireland for an outline of a number of key challenges facing rural Ireland and some policy proposals that should be in the next Programme for Government.

Last week, the Central Statistics Office published the results of its annual Pensions Survey. Much of the reaction suggested that things would be much better if private pension coverage in Ireland was higher than it is. However given its expense, and the way the benefits accrue mainly to the better off, we're not so sure. Here's the counter argument....

Ireland has been without a National Action Plan for Social Inclusion for over two years, a failure of Government to protect the most vulnerable in society.  Yesterday (14th January 2020) the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection published the Roadmap for Social Inclusion 2020-2025 which “sets out the Government’s ambition for Ireland to become one of the most socially inclusive States in the EU, defines a number of specific targets to be achieved and details a number of key commitments to deliver on this ambition and these targets” – but is this ambition enough?  Our review suggests that there will be almost the same number of people in poverty in 2025 as in 2018.

A recent publication from the Central Statistics Office, Post-Primary Outcomes – Academic Years Ending 2012 & 2013, analyses outcomes in 2012 – 2017 for two post-primary academic cohorts; 2011/2012 and 2012/2013. It examines outcomes in terms of education and training, substantial employment, and earnings over time.

The latest outpatient waiting lists indicate that 563,410 patients were awaiting an appointment as of November 2019, an increase of 47.5% since 2014.  Almost 30% were waiting 0-3 months while 18.7% were waiting 18 months or more.  With health expenditure at an all-time high, how is the health service failing so many?

“Economic growth is not an end in itself. An economy must work for the people and the planet.”  So begins the European Commission’s Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy, also referred to as the European Green Deal, consisting of four dimensions:  environment, productivity, stability and fairness.  The Sustainable Development Goals will be “at the heart” of the EU’s policymaking and action to move towards the objective of offering younger generations in Europe a sustainable and prosperous future.

Social Justice Ireland has consistently highlighted the need to strenghten the resourcing of home care and home care pacakges, and has consistently advocated for a statuatory basis to the right to home care.  We welcome the recent publication of a Report on the Provision of  Home Care Services by the Oireachtas Committee on Health.

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.