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Policy issues concerning Environment

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The Joint Committee on Climate Action is meeting this morning to further discuss the Report of the Citizen’s Assembly with representatives from the Climate Change Advisory Council and the Environmental Pillar.

Social Justice Ireland enthusiastically welcomes the news that Ireland will become the first country in the world to divest its sovereign wealth fund of all investments in fossil fuels.

On Thursday, 26th April 2018, Minister Denis Naughten unveiled Government's Sustainable Development Goals National Implementation Plan 2018-2020Social Justice Ireland welcomes this development and the commitment of Government to document the specific Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to which each current and new Government policy relates, and calls for the addition of an impact assessment for each of those policies in achieving Ireland’s goals and the closing of data gaps to support the development of an achievable SDG strategy.

Social Justice Ireland, as part of our work with Coalition2030, recently submitted our Sustainable Progress Index to inform its report on Ireland's performance under the Sustainable Development Goals.  Our Index monitors Ireland’s performance under each of the 17 SDGs, using data collected on 53 indicators, and ranks that performance against the EU15 countries.  We then provide a list of policy recommendations and considerations for Government based on the evidence gathered. 

The current approach to housing policy in Ireland is not working; the private sector will never build social housing units on the scale required.  Government must commit to building sufficient social housing units to eliminate the current housing waiting list.  This is the only way to address Ireland’s ongoing housing and homelessness crisis.  This is a key finding of Social Justice Ireland's National Social Monitor 2017.

Ireland is making poor progress when ranked against the other 14 countries in the EU-15.  The new Sustainable Progress Index, published  by Social Justice Ireland to mark UN World Social Justice Day, February 20, 2017, shows the scale of the challenge facing Ireland under the headings of economy, society and environment.

A brief snapshot on how Ireland is performing in terms of climate change and sustainability and some policy proposals.

Ireland has been through many “boom-Bust” economic cycles.  Each “bust” has led to assurances that lessons have been learned and that changes will be made to ensure that the next recovery will be sustainable.  Election 2016 occurs at the cusp of such discussions and offers us an opportunity to vote for policies which can indeed break the “boom-bust” cycle and deliver a more stable future.   Real sustainability will require a long term vision and a capacity to develop and implement policies which will have their impact in 10 or even 20 years’ time.

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.

Social Justice Ireland strongly endorses the key messages on climate change contained in the new encyclical from Pope Francis.  In this 184-page document entitled ‘On Care for Our Common Home’ Francis urgently calls on the entire world's population to act, lest we leave to coming generations a planet of "debris, desolation and filth."

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