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Policy issues concerning Governance

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.

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 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’s social contract is broken.  The legitimate expectations of citizens are not being met.  This is most obvious in areas such as housing and homelessness, a two-tier healthcare system, an ongoing failure to provide rural broadband and high levels of poverty and social exclusion, especially among children.  2017 is the first year of a new century for Ireland and now is the perfect opportunity to develop a new and radical social contract for Ireland’s second century. 

As part of our Socio-Economic Review 2015 'Towards a Just Society' Social Justice Ireland sets out its views on how Ireland can ensure the future does not repeat the mistakes of the past. It sets out a guiding vision for a just society and a policy framework that would deliver a just future for all.  This policy framework is available below.

People have a right to participate in shaping the decisions that affect them and to participate in developing and shaping the society in which they live. These rights are part of Social Justice Ireland’s Governance policy pillar of our Policy Framework for a Just Ireland. 

A full analysis of the challenges facing Ireland and our policy proposals are contained in our Socio-Economic Review 2015 ‘Towards a Just Society’.  The chapter is available below.

Professor Colin Scott's presentation at the Social Policy Conference 2014 is available to view.  Click the 'read more' link below to watch a larger video or to download the full text of the presentation.

Social Justice Ireland welcomes the decision by Minister Phil Hogan TD to establish Public Participation Networks (PPNs) in every local authority area as proposed by the working group.  These PPNs are to form part of the new structures for the engagement of local people and organisations at county and municipal level.

Government has published the report of the working group on citizen engagement with local government, which recommends that a People’s Participation Network, (PPN) be established in every Local Authority area to ensure extensive input by citizens into the decision-making process at local government level.

There are two questions concerning Ireland in 2014 and beyond that are not being addressed in a satisfactory manner at present i.e.

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