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Social Justice Ireland today launches the latest in our European Research Series 'Recovery in Europe: uneven and incomplete' reviewing the social situation in the 28 EU member states and making some proposals and recommendations for a more sustainable and inclusive future. The report analyses performance in areas such as poverty and inequality, employment, access to key public services
and taxation. These areas are examined in light of the key social policy responses of the European Union to the crisis including the social investment package.

‘Recovery in Europe: uneven and incomplete’ is the twelfth publication in Social Justice Ireland’s European Research Series.  

The purpose of our European Research Series is tocontribute to the debate and discussion on policy issues that affect all members of the European Union. To date this research series has produced comprehensive reviews of Ireland’s performance towards its Europe 2020 targets, a comprehensive examination of the impact of policies pursued by the European Union and its members states after the financial crisis of 2008 and an extensive analysis of how European member states have been performing in terms of social and economic targets after the crisis. Some of this research focussed on those countries most affected by the crisis.

In the first quarter of each year the European Commission release its Country Report for Ireland, detailing its review of the current economic situation, Ireland’s progress with country-specific recommendations previously made by the European Commission, and setting out reform priorities for Ireland in the coming year. In our initial response to this year’s report, Social Justice Ireland welcomed the focus on a number of key areas and set out our proposals on how Ireland might respond to the Country Specific Recommendations.

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). 

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