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Policy issues concerning European Union

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

Social Justice Ireland regrets that to date Government has not committed to supporting European moves to introduce a Financial Transactions Tax. The tax offers the dual benefit of dampening needless and often reckless financial speculation and generating significant funds. Reports have estimated a net revenue yield of between €320m and €350m per annum in Ireland alone, while according to the United Nations, the amount of annual income raised would be enough to guarantee to every citizen of the world basic access to water, food, shelter, health and education. This tax has the potential to wipe out the worst forms of material poverty throughout the world.

Next week, Social Justice Ireland and Trócaire will co-host a hustings event for the Dublin constituency ahead of the European Elections on May 24th. Ahead of this, we have formulated a joint policy platform, with Five Key Policy Asks. 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

Among the key findings from the National Social Monitor - European Edition are that quality of housing, the burden of housing costs, financial distress, difficulty in making ends meet and the environment are key issues in Ireland and across the European Union.  As we face into European Elections in May these issues are certain to feature strongly.


Ireland ranks 11th out of 15 comparable EU countries in this year’s Sustainable Progress Index. ‘Measuring Progress: The Sustainable Progress Index 2019’ ranks 15 comparable EU countries based on their delivery of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Ireland’s overall ranking in the bottom third will be noted by key stakeholders after the Irish Government published its SDG ‘National Development Plan’ just last year, committing itself to the UN SDGs across all policy areas. 

In the most recent, and high-profile, mortgage sale, Permanent TSB this week announced its intention to sell 14,000 non-performing mortgage loans.  Some commentators have suggested that, instead of selling these loans, that individual borrowers be allowed to ‘make a deal’ with the lender to buy the loan at the intended sale price.  However, this solution is too simplistic. 

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.

Social Justice Ireland has joined more than 250 non-government organisations from across Europe who have today released an alternative vision for a more democratic, just and sustainable Europe. Intended to influence the debate on the future direction of Europe, this alternative vision is endorsed by organisations representing a multitude of public interest issues, including labour rights, culture, development, environment, health, women’s rights, youth, and anti-discrimination groups.

Social Justice Ireland has called for the introduction of an EU-wide Basic Income system.  Speaking at a consultation on the Future of Europe conducted by the European Economic and Social Committee, Seán Healy, Director, Social Justice Ireland, stated that confidence in the EU is being eroded steadily because of a number of failures in the areas of social policy, environmental protection and governance. It needed to be seen as a Union that cared for all its people.

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.

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