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Policy issues concerning Civil Society

The UN Climate Action Summit 2019 begins in New York today.  The purpose of the summit is for countries who signed the Paris Agreement in 2015 to bring concrete, realistic and effective plans to meet 2020 targets and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent in the next ten years.  What plan does Ireland have to fully transform the economy in line with the sustainable development goals?

Ireland has signed up to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and is committed to legally binding climate commitments in 2020 and 2030.  We have a national commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050 yet we spend up to €4 billion every year on potentially environmentally damaging subsidies.

Social Justice Ireland welcomed the launch by Minister Michael Ring, Minister for Rural and Community Development, of the National Social Enterprise Policy yesterday (18th July 2019).  We, with others in the Community and Voluntary Pillar, have advocated for the introduction of such a Policy for a long time and we look forward to working with the Department of Rural and Community Development and other stakeholders on its implementation.

Social Justice Ireland wishes our newly elected MEPs every success.  This is a pivotal time for the future of the European Union and MEPs play a key role in ensuring that social and environmental sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals are at the heart of Europe's future.   To this end we have formulated Five Key Policy Asks for our MEPs in conjunction with Trocaire. They are:

  1. The Elimination of Poverty
  2. The Championing of Climate Justice
  3. Policy Coherence on the SDGs
  4. Delivery on the European Pillar of Social Rights
  5. Supporting an international treaty on Business and Human Rights

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The local and European elections threw up a variety of diverse issues many of which seem to be at odds with each other.  Concerns among voters about the impact of climate change and about the future of agriculture and livelihood of farmers may seem incompatible at first glance, but yet they are both very important issues to different sectors of society.  What these elections remind us is that a comprehensive policy framework is required to make progress on these issues and deliver a better future for everyone.

Local government has the potential to transform our communities but that potential is not being realised.  It is time to harness this potential and deliver more power locally.


We are facing into local elections in May 2019. Sustainable local development should be a key policy issue on the local government agenda.

17th of October is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.  In this era of increasing global wealth and economic growth it is important to highlight the large numbers of people living in poverty both here in Ireland and globally.  It is also a day to point to the policy options available that can improve the living conditions for all.  We can and should implement these policies without delay.

The role of civil society and the Community and Voluntary sector cannot be overstated in progressing societal and environmental issues at national level.  Through the expansion and reform of the SSNO grant, the Department of Rural and Community Development can support organisations to progress this important work towards a fairer, more just society.  Read Social Justice Ireland's submission to the Department here.

Current welfare systems were not designed to adapt to the challenges presented by automation and globalisation and are not fit for purpose. That's the view of a new paper from the Adam Smith Institute in the UK published to coincide with the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos this week. The institute argues that governments should look to Universal Basic Income (UBI) experiments around the world as they seek to address the risks posed by large-scale changes to the labour market while retaining the benefits of trade and technological progress.

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