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Policy issues concerning Income Distribution and Poverty

Ireland is not making progress towards meeting some of its Europe 2020 Targets.  This is one of the main findings of Social Justice Ireland's  latest report, Ireland and the Europe 2020 Strategy.  The report finds that Ireland needs to make greater efforts to meet the Europe 2020 targets on employment and reducing poverty and social exclusion.

The CSO Survey on Income and Living Conditions has been published.  It shows that despite an increase in median incomes 789,855 people are living in poverty in Ireland today.  Of this number 245,645 are children under the age of 18.  Despite the increase in median incomes and other signs of economic recovery these figures show that a significant proportion of the population is still living in very difficult circumstances.  These figures are unacceptable in a developed Western economy.

Without the social welfare system almost 50 per cent of the Irish population would have been living in poverty in 2014.  Adequate social welfare payments are required to prevent an increase in poverty.  Between 2010 and early 2016 inflation was 3.44 per cent - implying that a buying power of €188 in 2010 was equivalent to €194.50 by February 2016. 

Since the onset of the recession the number of people in poverty in Ireland has increased by more than 100,000.   Today there are more than 750,000 people living in poverty in Ireland; this is a major concern.  More than 57 per cent of those in poverty are not connected to the labour market; they are people who are retired, students, people in caring roles or people who are ill or people with a disability.

Despite some modest gains in some regions in the world, millions of women are losing ground in their quest for equality in the world of work, according to a new report prepared by the International Labour Organization (ILO). The report, Women at Work: Trends 2016  examined data for up to 178 countries and concludes that inequality between women and men persists across a wide spectrum of the global labour market.

There are 1.3 million people experiencing deprivation in Ireland, an increase of 215,000 since this Government came to office in 2011.  The numbers experiencing deprivation have almost doubled since the crash of 2008.

There has been a profound failure of policy across the EU since the 2008 crash, a failure that raises serious questions concerning the EU’s commitment to protecting its millions of powerless and vulnerable people, according to Social Justice Ireland’s latest research study on EU developments.

Tackling poverty and income inequality effectively is a multifaceted task. It requires action on many fronts, ranging from healthcare and education to accommodation and employment. However, the most important requirement in tackling poverty is the provision of sufficient income to enable people to live life with dignity.  This forms a core element of Social Justice Ireland’s Policy Framework for a Just Ireland.

‘Cherishing all Equally’, a new report by the independent think-tank, TASC, has revealed yawning gaps in income distribution in Ireland.

Social Justice Ireland strongly endorses the call by Ireland’s largest trade union to “battle” for low-paid vulnerable workers by seeking acceptance by employers of a living wage of €11.45 an hour.

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