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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.

Budget 2021 should be socially progressive and promote wellbeing.  This is key to a fair and inclusive recovery as we learn to live and work in a Covid-19 world.  Budgets represent what a government values and how they intend to meet their objectives. For Budget 2021 to be socially progressive it must ensure that nobody is left behind.  While developing a thriving economy is essential, it cannot be delivered without simultaneously working to provide decent services and infrastructure, just taxation, good governance and sustainability.

Tuesday, 15th September 2020 was UN Day of Democracy. Here we take a look at how Public Participation Networks help to deliver deliberative democracy for more capable communities and a sustainable society.

Social transfers are an effective policy tool in reducing income inequality in Ireland. Without social transfers, the proportion of the Irish population living at risk of poverty would be more than double what it currently is. Expenditure by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection accounted for 24 per cent of total Government expenditure in 2019, and 6 per cent of GDP. The Department recently published its Annual Statistical Report 2019 which contains a wealth of information on how this expenditure is distributed. 

The National Economic Plan - to be published on Budget day - must give equal weight to environmental, social and economic considerations. Otherwise, this Government will simply repeat the mistakes of the past and many will be left behind.  The National Economic Plan must be underpinned by a new social contract that treats our environment, society and economy equally

Ireland's Quarterly National Accounts, published earlier this week, serve to underline the detachment between many of Ireland's headline economic statistics and life on the ground.

Earlier this year, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 9 September the International Day to Protect Education from Attack. The announcement coincided with the fifth anniversary of the Safe Schools Declaration, which Ireland endorsed in May 2015. Education has been a focus for most countries in the context of the current pandemic, and correlations exist between educational attainment and rates of poverty and deprivation. In areas of armed conflict, the protection of education from attack can literally be a matter of life and death, as detailed in a recent report from the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack.

As children all over the country returned to school, the findings of the latest Survey from the Central Statistics Office - Social Impact of COVID-19 Survey August 2020: The Reopening of Schools – provides insights into the impact of #StayHomeStaySafe on children’s education.

Without a fairer system of international finance, the UN's Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved. Total financial outflows from poorer countries currently exceed overseas aid by a ratio of 5:1.


The deprivation figures published by the CSO show that almost 900,000 people still struggle to achieve a basic standard of living. The yearly increase was more than 140,000, and the fact that deprivation is increasing for almost every socio-demographic group is of real concern. 

The latest outpatient waiting lists indicate that 601,362 patients were awaiting an appointment as of July 2020, an increase of 8 per cent on January 2020 and 66.7 per cent since 2014.  Almost 20 per cent were waiting 0-3 months while 22.8 per cent were waiting 18 months or more.  With COVID-19 case numbers again increasing, these waiting lists are likely to continue to rise.

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