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Environment


A mature discussion needs to take place about the price of food and who pays for the additional production costs imposed by increased environmental and other conditions.This is an area where there is potential for collaboration between the environmental and agricultural lobby. Recent evidence of this can be found in the mutual opposition to the ratification of the Mercosur trade deal negotiated by the European Commission.


Public participation lies at the heart of the social contract, which has not always been a given in relation to environmental decision-making. Individuals and communities have come together to organise, mobilise and use legal mechanisms where necessary to protect their environment, working tirelessly to have their voices heard, whether they were formally invited to participate or not.

Social Justice Ireland was delighted to contribute to The Journal of Cross Border Studies in Ireland: Volune 15 2020 on the theme “Convergences and Divergences: Agriculture and the environment on the island of Ireland'.   

Yesterday (29th October 2020) the CSO published the latest report on The Census Population from an Environment Perspective 2011 and 2016. As the name might suggest, this Report delved into the Census data for 2011 and 2016, to analyse the trends around housing energy use. The results are interesting and highlight a willingness of households to move to more sustaiable home heating. For low income households however, they also underpin the need to have more focused action on retrofitting older homes and increasing energy efficiency.


Social Justice Ireland 
welcomes progress in Budget 2021on carbon tax, and the commitment to ringfence this revenue for sustainability measures.  However we are still a considerable distance from a Just Transtion and the compensation meausures in Budget 2021 are not as comprehensive as they could have been.  

Budget 2021 is an opportunity for this new Government to end to policies that subsidise and encourage the extraction and use of fossil fuels. Without such a move, Ireland cannot cease to be a climate action laggard.

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.

As we look towards the future and rebuilding our society and our economy we have the opportunity to ensure that our investment strategy reduces carbon emissions, creates a vibrant society and economy, and supports a just transition. Here we outline investment priorities for Budget 2021.

The commitment to using wellbeing indicators alongside economic indicators in the Programme for Government is welcome.  Creating a sustainable Ireland requires the adoption of new indicators to measure progress. To reflect this, the wellbeing indicators that the new Government has committed to developing must include new indicators measuring both wellbeing and sustainability in society, to be used alongside measures of national income like GDP, GNP and GNI.

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