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Following up on Social Justice Ireland’s Sustainable Progress Index, we publish our report monitoring Ireland’s progress towards each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and call on Government to ensure that achieving the SDGs is a key consideration for future policy-making, to identify to which SDG each new policy relates and document how that policy will support Ireland to achieve its goals.

The Government has today published its National Reform Programme 2018, as submitted to the European Commission.  In informing this process Social Justice Ireland submitted two papers to the Department of An Taoiseach - our comprehensive Europe2020 report and our analysis on the Country Specific Recommendations set out in the 2018 Country Report for Ireland.

Successive Governments have continued to look to private entities to deliver public services.  This has given rise to a regulatory emphasis on safeguarding competition rather than protecting the consumer, leaving households dependent on essential services at the mercy of market forces.   The recommendations in a recent OECD report provide salutary advice.

In the most recent, and high-profile, mortgage sale, Permanent TSB this week announced its intention to sell 14,000 non-performing mortgage loans.  Some commentators have suggested that, instead of selling these loans, that individual borrowers be allowed to ‘make a deal’ with the lender to buy the loan at the intended sale price.  However, this solution is too simplistic. 

A new study of 11 EU countries shows that Ireland has a significant and increasing gap in deprivation between vulnerable adults and other adults in society. The research, from the Economic and Social Research Institute, (published 31 January 2018), shows there is a significant and widening gap in the rate of persistent deprivation experienced by vulnerable adults, including lone parents and adults with a disability, and the rate experienced by other adults. Of the 11 EU countries studied, Ireland’s gap was the largest and increased the most during the study’s time frame of 2004-2015.

Social Justice Ireland has joined more than 250 non-government organisations from across Europe who have today released an alternative vision for a more democratic, just and sustainable Europe. Intended to influence the debate on the future direction of Europe, this alternative vision is endorsed by organisations representing a multitude of public interest issues, including labour rights, culture, development, environment, health, women’s rights, youth, and anti-discrimination groups.

Sean Healy, Director of Social Justice Ireland, was invited by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs to be part of an Expert Group Meeting on “Strategies for Eradicating Poverty to Achieve Sustainable Development for All” which was held at the United Nations in New York in May 2017.  This Expert Group Meeting was organised  to make specific policy recommendations on effective strategies for eradicating poverty in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including lessons from the implementation of the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017). 

Social Justice Ireland has published its annual review of the social inclusion aspects of Ireland's National Reform Programme and the Europe 2020 Strategy.  The review examines Ireland's performance in relation to the targets set within the National Reform Programme on poverty and social inclusion, employment and education. 

Ireland is making poor progress when ranked against the other 14 countries in the EU-15.  The new Sustainable Progress Index, published  by Social Justice Ireland to mark UN World Social Justice Day, February 20, 2017, shows the scale of the challenge facing Ireland under the headings of economy, society and environment.

Economic recovery has yet to be experienced by large numbers of people in Europe.  Many remain excluded as they continue to lose out in employment, education, healthcare, poverty and related services.  This is undermining the confidence many people had in the European project because they see the EU constantly giving priority to economic issues ahead of social challenges.

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