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Inequality


A report from the Educational Research Centre examining the home ‎and school learning environments of 15-year olds in DEIS and non-DEIS schools provides a detailed examination of the home and backgrounds of students in DEIS and non-DEIS schools and examines broader issues including wellbeing, the value that students place on education, their motivation, and aspirations for future learning and employment.

A new Youth Homelessness Strategy is needed and must be focused on the housing exclusion of young people. Low pay, poverty, irregular work all play a part but access to affordable secure housing is integral to ensuring that a cohort of young people without adequate resources do not begin their adult lives as homeless. 


The Economic Recovery Plan announced today, while welcome, is not of the scale required to address the social, economic and environmental challenges that we now face. Covid-19 has brought extraordinary social and economic costs.  Alongside this, the challenges that existed pre-Covid remain and cannot be ignored


The issue of child poverty is again prominent in the European Commission agenda, with the publication of the Council Recommendation for Establishing a European Child Guarantee. In order to be successful, increased political focus is required and children must be at the heart of post-Covid recovery plans.  Increased European and national funding is also a prerequisite for success. 


Poverty Focus examines the nature and experience of poverty in Ireland and sets out a series of solutions that could be adopted by Government.  Each year Poverty Focus highlights one area of concern while also commenting on the general policy landscape.  This year we pay particular attention to the impact of social welfare rates on low income households.


One of the key tools at our disposal to reduce poverty is social welfare. If Government is serious about reducing poverty and meeting the targets set out in the Roadmap for Social Inclusion then the first step must be to benchmark social welfare rates to 27.5 per cent of average earnings, and to do this over either one or two budgetary cycles.


Social Justice Ireland 
welcomes the announcement that the Low Pay Commission has been give terms of reference to investigate how Ireland can move towards a living wage.  In principle, a Living Wage is intended to establish an hourly wage rate that should provide employees with enough income to achieve an agreed acceptable minimum standard of living.  


Social Justice Ireland
believes in the very important role that social welfare plays in addressing poverty.  Without the social welfare system just over 4 in every 10 people in the Irish population (41.4 per cent) would have been living in poverty in 2019.  In 2021, as we plan future budgetary priorities, it is important that adequate levels of social welfare be maintained to ensure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated.

Before we had ever heard of Covid-19, Ireland faced a number of significant challenges. Among the biggest were those posed by inequality. Policymakers must acknowledge that a thriving economy is not a goal in itself but a means to social development and wellbeing for all. 

Annex 3 accompanies chapter 3 'Income Distribution' in Social Justice Matters: 2021 guide to a fairer Irish Society.  

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