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Austerity

Almost 10,000 people accessed emergency accommodation in February 2018.   Research released today by the Central Bank of Ireland suggests that almost 35,000 more are at risk of homelessness through late stage mortgage arrears.

The consultation on the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2018 to 2021 has been released by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection with a closing date of 16th March 2018.  This consultation is open to all, organisations and individuals, and while Social Justice Ireland encourages all to participate, we are concerned that the questions are framed in such a way as to allow Government to abdicate their responsibilities to the most vulnerable.

In the most recent, and high-profile, mortgage sale, Permanent TSB this week announced its intention to sell 14,000 non-performing mortgage loans.  Some commentators have suggested that, instead of selling these loans, that individual borrowers be allowed to ‘make a deal’ with the lender to buy the loan at the intended sale price.  However, this solution is too simplistic. 

A new study of 11 EU countries shows that Ireland has a significant and increasing gap in deprivation between vulnerable adults and other adults in society. The research, from the Economic and Social Research Institute, (published 31 January 2018), shows there is a significant and widening gap in the rate of persistent deprivation experienced by vulnerable adults, including lone parents and adults with a disability, and the rate experienced by other adults. Of the 11 EU countries studied, Ireland’s gap was the largest and increased the most during the study’s time frame of 2004-2015.

Ireland is making poor progress when ranked against the other 14 countries in the EU-15.  The new Sustainable Progress Index, published  by Social Justice Ireland to mark UN World Social Justice Day, February 20, 2017, shows the scale of the challenge facing Ireland under the headings of economy, society and environment.

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.

Europe: A Union for the Powerless as well as the Powerful? Review of the Social Situation in Europe and Considerations for a More Sustainable and Inclusive Future is the fourth report in Social Justice Ireland's European Research Series. This report adresses a series of key issues including unemployment, social investment, taxation and poverty and social exclusion across the EU 28 member states.  The report identifies key trends and makes policy proposals in key areas.

Austerity policies in the EU have contributed to intense economic suffering, particularly for young people and other vulnerable social groups, a new report has found. 123 million EU citizens – one in every four – are at risk of poverty or social exclusion – an increase of 7 million in the six years up to 2013.  An extra 8.4 million people became unemployed in the same period and almost one quarter of economically active young people in the EU are unemployed.  Young people constitute the largest group in the EU that is underemployed and feels discouraged in looking for work.

'Poverty and Inequalities on the Rise - Just Social Models needed as the solution' is the third in a series of annual research reports prepared by Social Justice Ireland for Caritas Europa documenting the human and social impact of austerity policies adopted by the European Union and its member states with a particular focus on Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Spain.

The following article by Professor James K. Galbraith appeared in Social Europe Journal on 23 February 2015 and challenges the analysis which has been communicated across mainstream media for several days.

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