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Covid-19

The July Jobs Stimulus contains some welcome elements which have the potential to support businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises, to absorb the economic impact of Covid-19. However, it remains to be seen if the package is of the scale required to begin the process of real economic recovery for the many businesses impacted, to alleviate the financial hardship of households on reduced incomes and to secure medium-to-long-term societal wellbeing. Read our full analysis here.

The effects of COVID-19 will take the heaviest toll on the most vulnerable, both nationally and internationally.  The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - a series of 17 high level goals based on 169 targets and over 230 indicators can provide a framework to refocus efforts towards policies to directly help people and communities in the long run and to provide a pathway out of poverty.  In our latest policy briefing, we look at Ireland's progress towards the SDGs and provide a series of policy recommendations to improve it.

A robust Social Dialogue process with the broad-based enhancement of capabilities in the economy and society at its core would assist in driving a sustainable recovery from the current crisis that will boost business development, improve wellbeing and invest in the future of citizens and communities.


A sustainable environment, a sustainable society and a sustainable economy require thriving communities across the entire country, but especially in rural areas.  It requires leadership and commitment on the policies required to move to a low carbon future, and also requires that we measure what counts.

As housing policy continues on an increasingly private pathway, more of us are accommodated through the private rented sector.  We need to redesign this sector to reflect its increasing use a tenure of choice and necessity to protect the rights of tenants and to make it more affordable.  We need to uncouple our basic housing need from the boom-bust cycle of the property market.  One mechanism to address affordability is to introduce a cost rental system to scale.

According to the Social Housing Needs Assessments 2019, published in December 2019, there were 68,693 households on the waiting list for social housing, presenting as a decrease of 4.4 per cent on the previous year.  However, the truth is that the housing crisis is worsening as Government continues to look to the private sector for solutions. Time to set a new social housing target of 20 per cent of all housing stock.

Housing in Ireland has been mired in controversy for decades – from tenement slums to planning irregularities, and from substandard housing to the institutionalisation of households in emergency accommodation and Direct Provision.  Social Justice Ireland has previously advocated for a 5-Pillar Framework for a new Social Contract.  These Pillars are a Vibrant Economy; Decent Services and Infrastructure; Just Taxation; Good Governance; and Sustainability.  In this article, we explore what those five Pillars might contain in the context of housing, as an example.

Community volunteers have rightly been in receipt of high praise for their response to the COVID-19 crisis.  This community spirit is to be commended, however harnessing that engagement for real social change remains a challenge in the context of a highly centralised Government structure. 

As we navigate the crisis caused by COVID-19, it is likely that rural areas will bear a significant social and economic impact over the medium-term, at least. The challenges that faced rural Ireland prior to the current pandemic remain, and new challenges have emerged, not least the impact of a potentially prolonged period of unemployment on areas that were already struggling. In this article, we look at the employment effects of the lockdown by county.

Restructuring agriculture and supporting and incentivising farmers to move to more sustainable agricultural practices is integral to a Just Transition in Ireland.  One of the fundamental principles of a Just Transition is to leave no people, communities, economic sectors or regions behind as we transition to a low carbon future.  A clear pathway for the farming community outlining how they will be supported as part of a Just Transition, and the benefits of sustainable farming practice to our environment, natural capital and to their household incomes is essential.

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