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Policy issues concerning Economy

On Tuesday, 12th November 2019, President Michael D. Higgins hosted a seminar entitled "Rethinking Economics:  The Role of the State in Fostering a Sustaiable and Inclusive Economy".

In his opening remarks, he cautioned "the prevailing neoliberal model which features markets without regulation, distorted trade and unrestricted globalisation, the priority of the price mechanism and the practice of commodification, speculative investment, and which results in unbridled consumption, yawning inequality and destructive extraction of natural resources is unsustainable from economic, environmental and social standpoints."

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?

Behind the headline jobs numbers, trends in Ireland's labour force participation tell some interesting stories.

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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.

The Government has failed to respond adequately to our nation’s housing crisis. There are almost 87,000 households on social housing waiting lists - over half of whom are families - and 10,000 homeless, of whom 3,600 are children. This is a national emergency. The impact of homelessness and precarious housing on our nation’s children will be felt for generations to come.

The Central Bank of Ireland is currently formulating its Strategic Plan 2019-2021.  In light of the number of regulatory issues coming to light - with tracker mortgages, over-charging and access issues - it is important that this Strategic Plan focus on consumer protection and regulation of the financial sector to ensure accountability and access to essential services.  See Social Justice Ireland's submission to the Central Bank here

A new study released today by the CSO reminds us that despite our improved economic performance, one in six Irish people are still living in poverty.

Successive Governments have continued to look to private entities to deliver public services.  This has given rise to a regulatory emphasis on safeguarding competition rather than protecting the consumer, leaving households dependent on essential services at the mercy of market forces.   The recommendations in a recent OECD report provide salutary advice.

The Daft.ie Rental Report released today showed that private rents continue to rise in Ireland, with average rent nationally now standing at €1,227 and reaching a high of €1,995 in South County Dublin.
There were 85,799 households (235,947 people) on the social housing waiting list in June 2017, a decrease of 6% from September 2016, however over half of that decrease is attributable to transfers from Rent Supplement to the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP).

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