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Policy issues concerning Government

It is clear that tax policy will play a vital role both in the immediate Government response to support people and businesses, and in rebuilding our society and economy once the worst of the health impacts are contained.  The new Government has an opportunity to reform and broaden our tax base and lay the foundations to increase our total tax take now to ensure we are well prepared to meet any future shocks.  We have a once in a generation opportunity to build a new society, a new economy and a new country that reflects the lessons we have learned in recent weeks. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact across all society.  We are all stakeholders in this crisis, and a whole-stakeholder approach to addressing it is urgently required. At a national level a new structure for Social Dialogue is required where issues may be discussed in a deliberative manner. Any proposal for Social Dialogue should involve Government, trade unions and employers, the community and voluntary sector, as well as farmers and environmental groups. Any structure for Social Dialogue that excludes any of these groups would be a recipe for ensuring that most of Ireland’s resources would be captured by those participating in the discussion. Such an approach would simply lead to deepening divisions and growing inequality in Ireland at a time when the needs of society, the economy and the environment require that we come together.

If a country is setting social, economic and environmental goals, it is important that taxation policy supports these goals. Ireland needs to have a real debate, not just about the levels of services and infrastructure it wishes to have in the coming decades, but also how these are to be financed. Just Taxation is one of the five key priority areas examined in Social Justice Matters: 2020 guide to a fairer Ireland. This report analyses ‘Just Taxation’ as one of five key priority areas required to build a fairer Ireland in an integrated and sustainable manner. 

If a country is setting social and economic goals, it is important that taxation policy supports these goals. Ireland needs to have a real debate, not just about the levels of services and infrastructure it wishes to have in the coming decades, but also how these are to be financed.   Read Social Justice Ireland's Election Briefing on Taxation for an outline of a number of key challenges facing Ireland and some policy proposals that should be in the next Programme for Government.

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.

Ireland's nature, biodiversity and wildlife contribute €2.6 billion to this country every year, yet the rate of deterioration and decline is accelerating annually.  If we are really serious about promoting sustainability and combating climate change and biodiversity loss then protecting nature and biodiversity must be at the heart of the All of Government Climate Plan. 

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.


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. 


The estimated cost of the overrun of the budget for the National Children’s Hospital currently stands at €450m.  Details have emerged of where the €99m to cover the cost of the National Children’s Hospital overrun in Budget 2019 will come from.   This will have an impact across a number of Departments and projects in 2019 and comes with a social and economic cost as well as a political one.  Government has yet to identify where the remainder of the €350m to cover the cost overrun will come from.  This information should be made available to the Oireachtas as soon as possible.

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.

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