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Participation

Tuesday, 15th September 2020 was UN Day of Democracy. Here we take a look at how Public Participation Networks help to deliver deliberative democracy for more capable communities and a sustainable society.

'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 COVID-19 crisis highlighted, among other things, the importance of community and a community-based response.  Yet this importance is often not reflected in the decision-making processes that affect those communities.  While the draft Programme for Government makes welcome reference to Social Dialogue at national level, there is a role for local level Social Dialogue also.

Community volunteers have rightly been in receipt of high praise for their response to the COVID-19 crisis.  This community spirit is to be commended, however harnessing that engagement for real social change remains a challenge in the context of a highly centralised Government structure. 

Social justice matters. That is why Social Justice Ireland publishes our annual socio-economic review. This book is about charting a course to a fairer Ireland. Social Justice Matters 2020 provides an analysis of the present situation on a wide range of issues and identifies a programme of initiatives and policies that can address our challenges in an integrated and sustainable manner.

Social dialogue and social partnership, in various forms, are common across Europe’s most successful economies and can play an important role in creating a fair and sustainable economic recovery here in Ireland.  A social dialogue process would be a very positive development for Ireland, and given the disruption caused to the economy and society by the current coronavirus pandemic, such a process is increasingly important. Read more in our policy briefing on Social Dialogue.

What can the next Government do to ensure we have a society which ensures that all people from different cultures are welcomed in a way that is consistent with our history, our obligations as world citizens and with our economic status, and that every person has a genuine voice in shaping the decisions that affect them?  Read Social Justice Ireland's Election Briefing People and Participation for an outline of a number of key challenges and some policy proposals that should be in the next Programme for Government.

On Tuesday, 12th November 2019, President Michael D. Higgins hosted a seminar entitled "Rethinking Economics:  The Role of the State in Fostering a Sustaiable and Inclusive Economy".

In his opening remarks, he cautioned "the prevailing neoliberal model which features markets without regulation, distorted trade and unrestricted globalisation, the priority of the price mechanism and the practice of commodification, speculative investment, and which results in unbridled consumption, yawning inequality and destructive extraction of natural resources is unsustainable from economic, environmental and social standpoints."

Minister Seán Canney TD, Minister for State in the Department of Rural and Community Development, yesterday launched the 2018 Annual Report of the Public Participation Networks (PPNs).  The PPNs are an independent network of community organisations, established in every Local Authority area, which supports meaningful democratic participation in their communities.  Social Justice Ireland were delighted to support the Department in drafting the 2018 Annual Report which provides detail on the huge body of work undertaken by each of the PPNs on behalf of almost 15,000 member organisations.

Following the official recognition of the ethnicity of Irish Travellers in 2017, the Seanad Consultation Committee sought views from a range of stakeholders to make proposals to support Travellers’ full equality post-ethnicity; and to make recommendations on the way forward.

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