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Policy issues concerning Inequality

Living in poverty is a reality for one in five children in Ireland.  This means that around 230,000 children in Ireland are living in families with incomes below the poverty line.  This is one of the main findings from Poverty Focus 2019.  How long more can we afford to ignore these children and their living standards?  This issue can be addressed effectively.  Child poverty can be eliminated.

The headline social inclusion targets addressed in the Irish National Reform Programme are focussed on employment, education and ‘poverty and social exclusion’.  How is Ireland performing on the social inclusion aspects of our National Reform Programme and our Europe 2020 targets?

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.

People with disabilities face considerable challenges in terms of access to the labour market.  The Census 2016 data revealed that there was 176,445 persons with a disability in the labour force in Ireland, representing a participation rate of 30.2 per cent, less than half that for the population in general. These findings reflect earlier results from Census 2011, the 2006 National Disability Survey.    People with a disability are also among the groups most likely to be affect by persistent joblessness. 

More than 760,000 people are living in poverty in Ireland, of which over 230,000 are children, despite some small improvements in poverty and deprivation rates.  These are the figures released today by the CSO from the annual Survey on Income and Living Conditions.

700,000 on healthcare waiting lists, 500,000 homes without broadband, over 11,000 people homeless – a result of Government policy failing to tackle causes - Social Justice Ireland publishes National Social Monitor Winter 2018.

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.

With 800,000 people in poverty, record numbers on healthcare waiting lists and more than 3,800 children homeless, Ireland is a profoundly unequal place. Inequality hurts the economy, leading to unstable economic growth and employment, higher debt, housing bubbles and increased homelessness. Substantial evidence has emerged in recent years to support the view that economies and societies perform better across a number of different metrics, from better health to lower crime rates, where there is less inequality.

Ireland now has the resources to ensure that inequality can be tackled effectively and the linked social injustices of poverty, waiting lists and homelessness can be addressed.  Priority should be given to reducing poverty, tackling the social housing crisis and reforming the healthcare system in both urban and rural Ireland.  Following on from our annual Sustainable Progress Index, Social Justice Ireland has published a 4-page brief on Ireland’s inability to get to grips with inequality.

Social Justice Ireland has partnered with Development Perspectives in support of their #SDGChallenge.  May is the month for SDG8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth.

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