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Social Dialogue


The cuts to funding for the Community and Voluntary sector made during the last recession have yet to be restored. Covid-19 has again highlighted the importance of communities. This support must now be formally recognised in Budget 2021 with investment in programmes that support community engagement; deal with deficit demand; tackle social exclusion; and sustain communities.

A robust Social Dialogue process with the broad-based enhancement of capabilities in the economy and society at its core would assist in driving a sustainable recovery from the current crisis that will boost business development, improve wellbeing and invest in the future of citizens and communities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact across all society.  We are all stakeholders in this crisis, and a whole-stakeholder approach to addressing it is urgently required. At a national level a new structure for Social Dialogue is required where issues may be discussed in a deliberative manner. Any proposal for Social Dialogue should involve Government, trade unions and employers, the community and voluntary sector, as well as farmers and environmental groups. Any structure for Social Dialogue that excludes any of these groups would be a recipe for ensuring that most of Ireland’s resources would be captured by those participating in the discussion. Such an approach would simply lead to deepening divisions and growing inequality in Ireland at a time when the needs of society, the economy and the environment require that we come together.

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.

The Department of Rural and Community Development have published its consultation on the Draft National Social Enterprise Policy.  In our submission, Social Justice Ireland recognises that, in the broader context, social enterprises provide a service to their communities.  It is therefore necessary to question the proposed resourcing, governance and oversight of social enterprises as proposed within this policy and to ensure that the policy meets the needs of the communities being served by social enterprises.  

This year's conference featured an excellent and diverse line-up of speakers from Spain, Italy, Germany, the USA, and Ireland. The key note address was delivered by President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins. Click in to download papers from the conference, watch the presentations, see our handy summary graphics, or download the entire conference booklet for free.

Social Justice Ireland has called for the introduction of an EU-wide Basic Income system.  Speaking at a consultation on the Future of Europe conducted by the European Economic and Social Committee, Seán Healy, Director, Social Justice Ireland, stated that confidence in the EU is being eroded steadily because of a number of failures in the areas of social policy, environmental protection and governance. It needed to be seen as a Union that cared for all its people.

Ireland’s social contract is broken.  The legitimate expectations of citizens are not being met.  This is most obvious in areas such as housing and homelessness, a two-tier healthcare system, an ongoing failure to provide rural broadband and high levels of poverty and social exclusion, especially among children.  2017 is the first year of a new century for Ireland and now is the perfect opportunity to develop a new and radical social contract for Ireland’s second century. 

The executive summary of Social Justice Ireland's Socio-Economic Review 2017 'A New Social Contract for a New Century' is available below.

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