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Policy issues concerning Participation

Minister Seán Canney TD, Minister for State in the Department of Rural and Community Development, yesterday launched the 2018 Annual Report of the Public Participation Networks (PPNs).  The PPNs are an independent network of community organisations, established in every Local Authority area, which supports meaningful democratic participation in their communities.  Social Justice Ireland were delighted to support the Department in drafting the 2018 Annual Report which provides detail on the huge body of work undertaken by each of the PPNs on behalf of almost 15,000 member organisations.

Following the official recognition of the ethnicity of Irish Travellers in 2017, the Seanad Consultation Committee sought views from a range of stakeholders to make proposals to support Travellers’ full equality post-ethnicity; and to make recommendations on the way forward.

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.

Decisions made by general and local Government affect every one of us.  Policies enacted on healthcare, housing, taxation, planning and so on all have an impact on our day to day lives.  Part of the ‘Good Governance’ pillar in Social Justice Ireland’s proposed Policy Framework for a Just Society, is the right of all people to meaningfully participate in the decisions and to have their say in shaping their communities and the world around them.  These rights are a fundamental part of living in a democracy and, as such, should be experienced by all equally.

Public Participation Networks (PPNs), made up of groups and organisations from the Environmental, Social Inclusion, and Community & Voluntary sectors, are influencing policy at a local and national level. And who knows what’s best for their communities better than local people themselves?

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.

31 per cent of working-age people with a disability are employed, which is less than half the rate of those without a disability, according to Social Justice Ireland’s latest Quarterly Employment Monitor.

Social Justice Ireland's recent book entitled Basic Income: Radical Utopia or Practical Solution? has received an award for original work in Irish Fiscal Policy from Ireland's Foundation for Fiscal Studies, Fiscal.ie.

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. 

A brief snapshot on how Ireland is performing in terms of promoting participation at local level and some policy proposals.

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