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Programme for Government

Social Justice Ireland believes strongly in the importance of developing a rights-based approach to social, economic, environmental, and cultural policy. Such an approach would go a long way towards addressing the inequality Ireland has been experiencing and should be at the heart of the development model for a just society. We believe that the next Programme for Government should acknowledge and recognise seven economic, social and cultural rights.

The Government of the 33rd Dáil  won’t be able to solve all Ireland's challenges in just five years, but making the right choices can go a long way to delivering a fairer society with a better standard of living for everyone. This is why the next Programme for Government must deliver on five key areas: a vibrant economy, decent services and infrastructure, just taxation, good governance and sustainability. 

If a country is setting social, economic and environmental goals, it is important that taxation policy supports these goals. Ireland needs to have a real debate, not just about the levels of services and infrastructure it wishes to have in the coming decades, but also how these are to be financed. Just Taxation is one of the five key priority areas examined in Social Justice Matters: 2020 guide to a fairer Ireland. This report analyses ‘Just Taxation’ as one of five key priority areas required to build a fairer Ireland in an integrated and sustainable manner. 

Whatever combination of parties sits down to negotiate the next Programme for Government, sustainability must be a key focus. This requires a focus on more than just environmental sustainability, but also financial and regional sustainability.


The local and European elections threw up a variety of diverse issues many of which seem to be at odds with each other.  Concerns among voters about the impact of climate change and about the future of agriculture and livelihood of farmers may seem incompatible at first glance, but yet they are both very important issues to different sectors of society.  What these elections remind us is that a comprehensive policy framework is required to make progress on these issues and deliver a better future for everyone.

The estimated cost of the overrun of the budget for the National Children’s Hospital currently stands at €450m.  Details have emerged of where the €99m to cover the cost of the National Children’s Hospital overrun in Budget 2019 will come from.   This will have an impact across a number of Departments and projects in 2019 and comes with a social and economic cost as well as a political one.  Government has yet to identify where the remainder of the €350m to cover the cost overrun will come from.  This information should be made available to the Oireachtas as soon as possible.

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.

Some tax proposals currently being considered by Government should be rejected because they would give far greater benefit to people earning higher incomes than to lower income employees according to a new study conducted by Social Justice Ireland.

The next Programme for Government should be focused on delivering five key outcomes: a vibrant economy, decent services and infrastructure, just taxation, good governance and sustainability.  Each of these is essential if Ireland is to have a fairer future.  These five areas of policy need to be addressed urgently if Ireland is to move towards being a society characterised by solidarity and fairness. They form the core of Social Justice Ireland’s proposed framework for the next Programme for Government.

Social Justice Ireland's policy briefing ' A Proposed Policy Framework for the Government of the 32nd Dáil' is available below.