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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.

According to the latest data released by the Central Bank of Ireland (the Central Bank), non-bank entities held 84,658 home mortgages up to the end of 2018, of which 25,469 are held by unregulated loan owners.  While a larger percentage of these loans are in late stage mortgage arrears than those held by banks, an increasing proportion are not in arrears.  Borrowers who made the decision to enter into one of the most major contracts of their lives, the mortgage on their home, may not be aware of who owns that mortgage and what, if any, protections they have if they get into difficulty making payments.  The Oireachtas is currently considering the No Consent, No Sale Bill 2019 which aims to curb mortgage transfers without the consent of the borrower, with some saying it’s a step too far and will damage the banking industry.  But what about the borrowers?  In terms of consumer protection, does it go far enough?

Ireland has agreed to produce an indicator of persistent poverty, measuring the proportion of the poulation those living below the poverty line in three of the last four years. These measures have yet to materialise, depriving us of the information that should be used as the primary basis for setting poverty targets and monitoring changes in poverty status.

Among the key findings from the National Social Monitor - European Edition are that quality of housing, the burden of housing costs, financial distress, difficulty in making ends meet and the environment are key issues in Ireland and across the European Union.  As we face into European Elections in May these issues are certain to feature strongly.

Social Justice Ireland today launches the latest in our European Research Series 'Recovery in Europe: uneven and incomplete' reviewing the social situation in the 28 EU member states and making some proposals and recommendations for a more sustainable and inclusive future. The report analyses performance in areas such as poverty and inequality, employment, access to key public services
and taxation. These areas are examined in light of the key social policy responses of the European Union to the crisis including the social investment package.

Social Justice Ireland is in favour of the indexation of social welfare rates.  The correct and most appropriate measure against which to index social welfare rates is earnings.  Indexation to other measures such as inflation (or the Consumer Price Index) are inappropriate.

People with disabilities face considerable challenges in terms of access to the labour market.  The Census 2016 data revealed that there was 176,445 persons with a disability in the labour force in Ireland, representing a participation rate of 30.2 per cent, less than half that for the population in general. These findings reflect earlier results from Census 2011, the 2006 National Disability Survey.    People with a disability are also among the groups most likely to be affect by persistent joblessness. 

As long as the National Minimum Wage (NMW) lags so far behind the Living Wage, hundreds of thousands of Irish workers will be forced to do without certain essentials so they can make ends meet. Social Justice Ireland would like to see government commit to a timeframe over which the NMW would move towards the rate of the Living Wage.

In the first quarter of each year the European Commission release its Country Report for Ireland, detailing its review of the current economic situation, Ireland’s progress with country-specific recommendations previously made by the European Commission, and setting out reform priorities for Ireland in the coming year. In our initial response to this year’s report, Social Justice Ireland welcomed the focus on a number of key areas and set out our proposals on how Ireland might respond to the Country Specific Recommendations.

Ireland's current means for accommodating asylum seekers is increasingly unfit for purpose, and the practice of keeping people in such circumstances for in some cases several years is inhuman.

The Central Bank issued its quarterly Residential Mortgage Arrears & Repossession Statistics report for Q4 2018.  While the number of mortgages in arrears has again decreased, the rise in sales to non-bank entities of both performing and non-performing loans continues to put homeowners at risk.