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Disability

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

'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 deprivation figures published by the CSO show that almost 900,000 people still struggle to achieve a basic standard of living. The yearly increase was more than 140,000, and the fact that deprivation is increasing for almost every socio-demographic group is of real concern. 


Government should increase in core social welfare rates of €7 per week in Budget 2021 and set a three-year target for Government to reach the benchmark of 27.5 per cent of average earnings.  In the forthcoming Budget Government should also complete the equalisation of Jobseeker’s rates for young people under 26, introduce a cost of disability allowance and introduce a universal state pension.

Poverty focus is an annual publication from Social Justice Ireland where we focus on the nature and experience of poverty in Ireland. Drawing on the available statistical evidence, we outline how poverty is measured, the value of the poverty line and consider many of the groups in our society who are most exposed to living life below the poverty line.

Ireland's low unemployment rates and impressive jobs creation numbers are being recorded in the context of a far lower participation rate than Ireland has had in the recent past. In addition we face challenges in relation to precarious work and low paid employment.  Read Social Justice Ireland's Election Briefing on Work for an outline of a number of key challenges and some policy proposals that should be in the next Programme for Government.

To support carers and people with disabilities to live fulfilling lives within their communities, Government must, in the forthcoming Budget, Introduce a cost of disability payment, increase investment in disability services, including respite and personal assistant services, increase the Domiciliary Care Allowance and expand the Free Travel scheme to include people in receipt of DCA, and increase the annual Carer's Support Grant.

Social Justice Ireland makes the case for an increase in core social welfare rates of €9 per week for single people in Budget 2020 to ensure the welfare benchmark is maintained at the Pre-Budget Forum in Dublin Castle.

People with disabilities face considerable challenges in terms of access to the labour market.  The Census 2016 data revealed that there was 176,445 persons with a disability in the labour force in Ireland, representing a participation rate of 30.2 per cent, less than half that for the population in general. These findings reflect earlier results from Census 2011, the 2006 National Disability Survey.    People with a disability are also among the groups most likely to be affect by persistent joblessness. 

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. 

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