National Social Monitor shows need for much greater investment in areas such as ageing, social housing and sustainability

Posted on Monday, 31 August 2015

We are focussing far too much on the performance of the economy and not nearly enough on issues such as aging, social housing and sustainability, that have major implications for the wellbeing of individuals and society as a whole according to the National Social Monitor 2015 published by Social Justice Ireland.  It goes on to argue that a balance is required between the various aspects of life if the wellbeing of this and future generations is to be secured.

The National Social Monitor shows that:

  • Although Ireland’s population is young in comparison to those of other European countries we need to recognise that by 2031 almost one million people in Ireland will be over 65 with 136,000 being over 85.  
  • While the Government’s Social Housing Strategy is welcome, the current plans for providing social housing go nowhere near what is required to address the housing and homelessness crisis.
  • Government’s climate policy seems to be at odds with its economic growth policies as Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions are set to substantially overshoot the targets for the EU2020 targets for the domestic sector.

In the National Social Monitor, Social Justice Ireland reviews the present situation on a wide range of issues that affect society as a whole. Issues such as Healthcare, Education, Housing, as well as Taxation, Employment, Rural Development and Sustainability are assessed annually in order to track Ireland’s progress.

All of these issues have implications for Ireland’s economy; however, they also have implications for the well-being of every individual and community in Ireland. 

On the positive side, GDP is growing, the number of jobs has increased and unemployment has fallen.

On the negative side Ireland continues to have high national debt levels, growing pressure on public services and major infrastructure deficits. We have a sustained problem with poverty, particularly child poverty, and face challenges in terms of literacy and numeracy among adults.

Whilst we are, as people, living longer, which is a positive, we are not planning in advance as to how we are going to look after each other when we get to old age. We need to plan now for such events. It is not as if this might happen in the future, it is already happening. This level of population ageing will be associated with higher levels of disability and long-term ill-health, and this requires planning and investment.

These are just a few of the areas Ireland needs to concentrate on, if we are to create a society that is inclusive to all, and one that will encompass all our needs. Building such a society is possible. It is not a pipe-dream as some commentators seem to think.

The full text of the National Social Monitor 2015 may be accessed here