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Children


The latest publication in the Growing Up in Ireland study provides very useful information on the lives of nine-year-olds, and the impact of gender and family circumstances on the experiences and developmental outcomes.  Here we look at the main findings in terms of education and cognitive development. 


‘Social Justice Matters Policy Brief’ is a series designed to provide independent and in-depth analysis on important social policy issues and to present policy options that should be prioritised in the coming years.  In this issue we look at the impact of Covid-19 on education at primary level and second level in Ireland.   


The impact of Covid-19 on our education system cannot be understated. It will widen the learning gap between rich and poor, impose long-term losses of income on all students - with disadvantaged students suffering greater learning losses and greater impacts on their lifetime earnings.  It could reverse much of the progress made on addressing educational disadvantage to date.


The issue of child poverty is again prominent in the European Commission agenda, with the publication of the Council Recommendation for Establishing a European Child Guarantee. In order to be successful, increased political focus is required and children must be at the heart of post-Covid recovery plans.  Increased European and national funding is also a prerequisite for success. 


Social Justice Matters 2021 guide to a fairer Irish Society provides a key reference point for anybody working on Irish social justice issues in 2021.  


Ireland is among the signatories of the recent Joint Declaration by the Ministers of the EPSCO Council ‘Overcoming poverty and social exclusion – mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on families – working together to develop prospects for strong children’. If Government is truly committed to the stated objectives of the joint declaration then significant resources and serious political and policy commitment to addressing child and family poverty are required.

'Building a New Social Contract – Policy Recommendations’ contains more than eighty specific policy recommendations that would go a considerable direction towards a new social contract to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of everyone and ensure that a no-one is left behind as our economy and society recovers from the impact of Covid-19.

The European Court of Auditors has just published a special report on child poverty in the EU entitled 'Combating child poverty – Better targeting of Commission support required'.  The report finds that child poverty remains a serious issue in the EU, and unfortunately, child poverty is likely to become even more prevalent in the aftermath of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.  The report recommends that the European Commission target and monitor investment in tackling child poverty, particularly in the period of the new budget period 2021-2027.

The latest in the UNICEF Innocenti Report Card Series, Worlds of Influence: Understanding What Shapes Child Well-being in Rich Countries, warns that the world's richest nations must protect child wellbeing in the post-Covid 19 fallout.

The National Economic Plan - to be published on Budget day - must give equal weight to environmental, social and economic considerations. Otherwise, this Government will simply repeat the mistakes of the past and many will be left behind.  The National Economic Plan must be underpinned by a new social contract that treats our environment, society and economy equally

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