Elections Policy Briefing 2014

Posted on Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The key focus of the local and European elections should be securing the wellbeing of this and future generations.  Social Justice Ireland’s policy briefing ‘Elections 2014’ identifies some key issues and actions required that are critical to shaping a fairer future. 

Action is needed in the areas of social inclusion, the economy, the democratic deficit and sustainability if we are to see the emergence of a just society in Ireland and across the EU.

The policy briefing highlights the following issues:

  • The current approach to policy is not securing the wellbeing of all either in Ireland or in the EU as a whole.
  • As more and more decisions are made without real engagement from those impacted by them action is required to strengthen democracy, promote solidarity and address the democratic deficit.
  • Those who are elected in the upcoming elections need to recognise that development of a fairer future across the EU and in Ireland will only be possible when priority is given to the common good.

The EU is both a social and an economic project. Commitment to the European Social Model is essential if the wellbeing of this and future generations is to be secured.  In these economically turbulent times it is essential to focus on the shape of society we wish to see emerge.  It is not enough for economic activity to be profitable, it is also essential that it promote the common good.

Social Justice Ireland has also just published ‘Ireland and the Europe 2020 Strategy – Employment, Education and Poverty’ which highlights the negative trends both in Ireland and the European Union in relation to the employment, poverty and social inclusion targets that have been set at both and national and EU level.  Both Ireland and the EU are moving in the wrong direction. These elections are a key moment to change direction at local and European level in terms of shaping the future.  If we want to reverse the negative trends in relation to employment, poverty and social inclusion then immediate action is required.  The wellbeing of this and future generations will be built by decisions made in the years ahead.

Key issues for Elections 2014:

Social inclusion

Given the growing inequality and social exclusion being experienced by so many across the EU and in Ireland it is crucial that political leaders take action to reduce poverty and income inequality, combat unemployment and secure services and infrastructure.. 


Given the needs to have the economy serve people, there should be action to ensure corporations pay a fair share of tax e.g. through a Financial Transactions Tax, to increase investment and to ensure the financial sector can never again repeat the crash of 2008.

The Democratic Deficit

As more and more decisions are made without real engagement from those impacted by them action is required to strengthen democracy and promote solidarity.  At a local level the newly-elected Councils should put wellbeing at the core of their new plans and at an EU level development of ‘satellite’ or ‘shadow’ national accounts should be a central initiative of the new Parliament and Commission.


Given the challenges posed by demands on the environment and depleting natural resources action is required to tackle climate change and develop new indicators of progress.  

Elections 2014