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Demographics

Social Justice Ireland is seriously concerned that Government is not planning sufficiently for the changes that Ireland’s ageing population will bring. Over the coming decades there will be a steady increase in older people and people with disabilities accessing services. In Budget 2020, government must take steps to prepare for changes that will arise as Ireland's population profile changes.

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.

In order to improve the wellbeing of everyone in society, at all stages of the life cycle, it is vital that our policies address the causes of problems rather than their symptoms only.  It is through this lens that Social Justice Ireland examines the ten policy areas in the National Social Monitor. 

The Government has failed to respond adequately to our nation’s housing crisis. There are almost 87,000 households on social housing waiting lists - over half of whom are families - and 10,000 homeless, of whom 3,600 are children. This is a national emergency. The impact of homelessness and precarious housing on our nation’s children will be felt for generations to come.

With 10,000 people - including 3,600 children - homeless, 72,000 mortgages in arrears, and 87,000 households on social housing waiting lists, it can hardly be denied that Government policy is a dramatic failure.

The Government’s new Pensions plan has missed the opportunity to provide a Universal Pension as a basic right to all citizens. It has also failed to address major issues around equity, sustainability and bureaucracy that have underpinned Ireland’s pension system for generations. Read Social Justice Ireland's new report: A Universal State Social Welfare Pension.

The current approach to housing policy in Ireland is not working; the private sector will never build social housing units on the scale required.  Government must commit to building sufficient social housing units to eliminate the current housing waiting list.  This is the only way to address Ireland’s ongoing housing and homelessness crisis.  This is a key finding of Social Justice Ireland's National Social Monitor 2017.

The CSO recently published part 2 in a series of summary results from Census 2016 covering areas such as employment, socio-economic groups, skills, labour force participation and health.  This document highlights some very challenging trends in Ireland.  This data should guide and inform policy making in the areas of employment, education and training, caring, health and transport. 

Demographics in Ireland are changing and this will have a significant impact on public policy.  It will mean increased pressure on education places at all levels, increased pressure on our health and community services as our population ages, and a changing labour force in the longer term.

Social Justice Ireland's General Election briefing on Demographic change.

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