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Programme for Government

The commitment to using wellbeing indicators alongside economic indicators in the Programme for Government is welcome.  Creating a sustainable Ireland requires the adoption of new indicators to measure progress. To reflect this, the wellbeing indicators that the new Government has committed to developing must include new indicators measuring both wellbeing and sustainability in society, to be used alongside measures of national income like GDP, GNP and GNI.

A full analysis of the draft Programme for Government will be published in due course. In the meantime, our initial response highlights 10 positives contained within the PfG and 10 causes for concern. We go on to list other areas contained in the document on which Social Justice Ireland had advocated and campaigned.

To unravel the two-tier welfare system that has been temporarily created as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, and to truly deliver a fair and sustainable economy the new Government should develop a programme to index social welfare rates to the Minimum Essential Standard of Living over a five-year term. 

The decision to put a new social contract and a focus on the wellbeing of Irish people at the heart of the Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael Framework for a New Programme for Government is very welcome. So too is the assertion that there is no going back to the old way of doing things. The fact that the framework recognises the need for new, credible, quality-of-life measures of individual and societal wellbeing and progress, suggest that the next Programme for Government will go beyond economic priorities and targets and take a more holistic approach in its decision-making. Such a development would be very welcome.

Our initial 15-page response to the Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael Framework for a New Programme for Government welcomes some aspects of the plans, raises concerns about others, and proposes a series of specific policy initiatives that would go some distance towards achieving each of the ten mission statements set out in the Framework.

Despite the inevitable economic aftermath of the current pandemic, the Government of the 33rd Dáil can make significant inroads into the challenges Ireland faces over the next five years. The next Programme for Government must deliver on five key areas: a vibrant economy, decent services and infrastructure, just taxation, good governance and sustainability. 

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.

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