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New Programme for Government must address rampant inequalities in Irish society

A new programme for Government must prioritise a vibrant economy, decent services and infrastructure, just taxation; good governance and sustainability to create a more equal and fair society. Social Justice Ireland has produced a proposed Programme for Government that addresses these issues as part of their Annual Policy Conference, ‘From Here to Where’, held on Tuesday, 13th November in Croke Park. Speakers at the conference included: Paddy Cosgrave, Web Summit; Christine Bohan, The Journal; Emmet Kirwan, Poet and Actor; Tony Fahey, UCD; Theresa Reidy, UCC; Cara Augustenborg, Friends of the Earth and the Social Justice Ireland team.  Videos of each of the speakers and their papers will be available on the Social Justice Ireland website, www.socialjustice.ie, in the coming days.

Previous programmes for Government have, invariably, given priority to economic growth over everything else.  While many of those programmes have been very successful at generating economic growth, they have not succeeded in having those resources transformed into the levels of service and infrastructure, of equality and inclusion, that most Irish people would support or desire.

Despite being one of the richest countries in the world with one of the fastest growing economies, Ireland today has 780,000 people living in poverty. A quarter of a million of these are children and over 100,000 of them has a job. There are over 700,000 people on waiting lists for healthcare; over 500,000 homes in rural Ireland without broadband. Over 11,000 people are homeless with close to 80,000 households in need of social housing.

Social Justice Ireland’s proposed Programme for Government strongly advocates for a focus on:

  • A vibrant economy
  • Decent services and infrastructure
  • A just taxation system
  • Good governance
  • A sustainable society

Seán Healy, CEO of Social Justice Ireland said:

“While there is considerable discussion around what kind of Ireland we want to live in, very little attention is given to one of the key policy instruments that might actually get us there – the Programme that will be negotiated by the next Government. The makeup of the next Government can only be speculated upon, but whichever parties and politicians comprise it, the Government of the 33rd Dáil and its Programme for Government will have major impacts on Irish society and will be in a position to shape the future of this country for a considerable time to come.There is, therefore, a clear need to ensure that the Programme for Government of the 33rd Dáil is focused on creating a more just and sustainable Ireland”