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For the good of the economy and for the good of society Ireland must reduce its inequality
With 800,000 people in poverty, record numbers on healthcare waiting lists and more than 3,800 children homeless, Ireland is a profoundly unequal place. Inequality hurts the economy, leading to unstable economic growth and employment, higher debt, housing bubbles and increased homelessness. Inequality distorts the market for housing, promoting bubbles in housing prices and squeezing more people into the lower end of the housing market, causing many to become homeless.
Policymakers must acknowledge that a thriving economy is not a goal in itself, but a means to social development and wellbeing. For the good of the economy and for the good of society Ireland must reduce its inequality.
Substantial evidence has emerged in recent years to support the view that economies and societies perform better across a number of different metrics, from better health to lower crime rates, where there is less inequality.
Ireland's performance on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is particularly poor on reducing inequality. This emphasises the need for Government to put the SDGs at the centre of policy making. Reducing inequality will require more than changing economic policies, it will require a re-examination of social structures and values.
To mark Global Goals week Social Justice Ireland has launched two publications, Sustainable Development Goals Policy Briefing on Inequality and Some Reflections on Inequality in Ireland.
Among the objectives of this research are to ensure that Government has a good understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their relevance for Ireland and commits to particular actions to deliver on them. This research also seeks to underline the link between social inclusion in Ireland and across the planet so that all levels of government act in a coherent manner to reduce inequality. It also seeks to raise awareness at local and community level to ensure that the SDGs are woven into local government actions.