You are here

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.

In advance of the first budget from the current Government, it is important to remember three things: (i) the primary focus should be on increasing employment and delivering infrastructure and services, NOT on deficit reduction; (ii) a huge amount of borrowing will be needed in the next three years, and probably more again after that, and (iii) this borrowing is affordable and is the correct thing to do for the future of the economy and society.

Tomorrow is World Mental Health Day. The theme this year is Mental Health for All - Greater Investment, Greater Access. Everyone, Everywhere.  But how does Ireland fare when it comes to mental health services?

The European Court of Auditors has just published a special report on child poverty in the EU entitled 'Combating child poverty – Better targeting of Commission support required'.  The report finds that child poverty remains a serious issue in the EU, and unfortunately, child poverty is likely to become even more prevalent in the aftermath of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.  The report recommends that the European Commission target and monitor investment in tackling child poverty, particularly in the period of the new budget period 2021-2027.

Budget 2021 is an opportunity for this new Government to end to policies that subsidise and encourage the extraction and use of fossil fuels. Without such a move, Ireland cannot cease to be a climate action laggard.

Today is International Day of Older Persons.  To mark this occasion, we consider a presentation given at our Annual Social Policy Conference last year by Dr. Diarmuid O'Shea on Ageing in Ireland - A Measure of Succes and why we can lead the way!  This is an extract only. Dr. O'Shea's full presentation is available to view or to download here.

Social welfare rates must be increased in Budget 2021.  The gap between those reliant on social welfare and those on average weekly earnings is growing.  Average earnings to the end of Q2 2020 increased by 6 per cent, whereas core social welfare rates have seen no increase since Budget 2019.  Social welfare rates must be increased in Budget 2021, in line with a movement towards 27.5 per cent of average weekly earnings in order to address this growing problem.  If not, then this Government will leave those who are most vulnerable behind. 

We are well aware of the short-term health, social and economic impacts of Covid-19.  But what about the long-term impacts that the pandemic has caused, partciularly the disruption to education and learning.  The latest research indicates that students impacted are facing at least a 3 per cent loss of income compared to peers in previous years throughout their lifetimes, with disadvantaged students being worst affected.  

The latest in the UNICEF Innocenti Report Card Series, Worlds of Influence: Understanding What Shapes Child Well-being in Rich Countries, warns that the world's richest nations must protect child wellbeing in the post-Covid 19 fallout.

For the years 2020-2022, or until Ireland reaches full employment (if earlier than 2022), the fiscal stance adopted by Ireland should be determined by an unemployment target, rather than a deficit target, in recognition of the role domestic demand plays in sustaining domestic employment. The State should begin to plan now for the additional tax measures necessary, over the long-term, to finance the Government expenditure required to finance universal services and income supports for our citizens.

The Living Wage Technical Group has today announced that the Living Wage remains unchanged from 2020, at €12.30 per hour. The Technical Group, of which Social Justice Ireland is a member, has today published its Living Wage Annual Paper, Technical Document and Expenditure and Income TablesSocial Justice Ireland urges Government to begin the process of increasing the National Minimum Wage, which is €10.10 per hour, towards the Living Wage in Budget 2021.