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Poverty

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.

Ireland has one of the most unequal distributions of market income in the European Union. We rely heavily on our tax and social welfare systems to produce a more equal society. High rates of poverty and income inequality have been the norm in Irish society for some time. Read Social Justice Ireland's Election Briefing on Income for an outline of a number of key challenges facing Ireland and some policy proposals that should be in the next Programme for Government.

Ireland has been without a National Action Plan for Social Inclusion for over two years, a failure of Government to protect the most vulnerable in society.  Yesterday (14th January 2020) the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection published the Roadmap for Social Inclusion 2020-2025 which “sets out the Government’s ambition for Ireland to become one of the most socially inclusive States in the EU, defines a number of specific targets to be achieved and details a number of key commitments to deliver on this ambition and these targets” – but is this ambition enough?  Our review suggests that there will be almost the same number of people in poverty in 2025 as in 2018.

The poverty rates for single person households have risen notably in the last decade, while they have fallen or remain more-or-less static for others. Increased poverty for those living alone is keeping Ireland's poverty rates high and presents a policy challenge for government.

More than 689,000 people are living in poverty in Ireland, of which over 200,000 are children. Despite moderate improvements in poverty rates and numbers, which are very welcome, there are an extra 36,000 people living in poverty in Ireland today compared to a decade ago.

Today is International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. What did last week's Budget do to help eradicate poverty?

Brexit has the potential to even further reduce the living standards of Ireland's most vulenerable. A sudden increase in food prices will hit lower income households hardest. Here's why.

Social Justice Ireland wishes our newly elected MEPs every success.  This is a pivotal time for the future of the European Union and MEPs play a key role in ensuring that social and environmental sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals are at the heart of Europe's future.   To this end we have formulated Five Key Policy Asks for our MEPs in conjunction with Trocaire. They are:

  1. The Elimination of Poverty
  2. The Championing of Climate Justice
  3. Policy Coherence on the SDGs
  4. Delivery on the European Pillar of Social Rights
  5. Supporting an international treaty on Business and Human Rights

Defined as a set of conditions where “individuals or households are not able to adequately heat or provide other required energy services in their homes at affordable cost”, energy poverty affects almost 50 million people in the European Union, according to a recent report from the European Energy Network.  In Ireland, the number of people who went without heat due to financial constraints in 2017 was almost 393,417 (CSO SILC, 2018).  Data released by Eurostat this week (21st May 2019) show that Ireland had the highest increase in gas prices and the fifth highest increase in electricity prices in the EU.  Without adequate measures to tackle the causes of fuel poverty, what next for families going without this basic necessity?

Next week, Social Justice Ireland and Trócaire will co-host a hustings event for the Dublin constituency ahead of the European Elections on May 24th. Ahead of this, we have formulated a joint policy platform, with Five Key Policy Asks. They are:

  1. The Elimination of Poverty
  2. The Championing of Climate Justice
  3. Policy Coherence on the SDGs
  4. Delivery on the European Pillar of Social Rights
  5. Supporting an international treaty on Business and Human Rights

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