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Policy issues concerning Population

What can the next Government do to ensure we have a society which ensures that all people from different cultures are welcomed in a way that is consistent with our history, our obligations as world citizens and with our economic status, and that every person has a genuine voice in shaping the decisions that affect them?  Read Social Justice Ireland's Election Briefing People and Participation for an outline of a number of key challenges and some policy proposals that should be in the next Programme for Government.

Social Justice Ireland has consistently highlighted the need to strenghten the resourcing of home care and home care pacakges, and has consistently advocated for a statuatory basis to the right to home care.  We welcome the recent publication of a Report on the Provision of  Home Care Services by the Oireachtas Committee on Health.

Ageing will be a dominant theme in the 21st century according to The United Nations World Economic and Social Survey. How we think about ageing can impact the policies we introduce and the supports we deem necessary.  Dr. Diarmuid O'Shea (Irish Gerontological Society) presented on the theme of ageing as an opportunity to add healthy years to life at our Social Policy Conference and emphasised that health and social care expenditures for older people need to be seen as an investment, not a cost.

The Government recently published the 2019 Spending Review of Carer’s Supports.  The findings of this review point to a need to increase investment in community care, and home help and to provide a statutory entitlement to Home Care Packages if we are to meet potential future demand.

In 2016 President Michael D.Higgins spoke of the importance of embracing mulitculturalism when he said "Difference is a resource.  Difference is richness.  That is the Ireland that is unfolding before us and I welcome it.".  With those words, the President laid down a marker to view diversity as a benefit, rather than a drain, enriching all of society.  The rise in populism and anti-immigrant sentiment is a danger to society and democracy.  It polarises communities and incites hatred, and in some cases, violence.  Ireland needs to take a whole of society and policy approach to embrace multiculturalism for the benefit of all.

Support for people to remain in their own homes is a key and appropriate policy objective and coincides with the wishes of most older people. A key component of this is a statutory basis for home care packages.

Current welfare systems were not designed to adapt to the challenges presented by automation and globalisation and are not fit for purpose. That's the view of a new paper from the Adam Smith Institute in the UK published to coincide with the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos this week. The institute argues that governments should look to Universal Basic Income (UBI) experiments around the world as they seek to address the risks posed by large-scale changes to the labour market while retaining the benefits of trade and technological progress.

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. 

Ireland needs an integrated transition from an agricultural to a rural and regional development agenda to improve the quality of life for all rural dwellers.  This will require policy coherence in terms of investment, social services, governance and sustainability as part of our Policy Framework for a Just Ireland.  A full analysis of the challenges in promoting facing Rural Ireland and our policy proposals are contained in our Socio-Economic Review 2015 ‘Towards a Just Society’.  The chapter is available below.

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