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Social Policy


There is an urgent need for ambitious, cohesive and transformative economic policies and for Europe’s need to face challenges collectively, and in solidarity. But Europe must do more. The upcoming challenges are daunting: not just the ecological and economic failure brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and the risk of a debt-deflationary downward economic spiral,  but also the economic divergences that have led to the rise of anti-Europe sentiment, nationalism and populism; and the grave, even terrifying ecological risks that transcend borders.  


Social fairness and solidarity are more important than ever in the European Union if it is to meet the challenges of demographic ageing, climate change and digitalisation and deal with the aftermath of Covid-19.  This is according to the latest 'Employment and Social Developments in Europe Report ‘Fairness and Solidarity in the European Social Market Economy’. 

An open and transparent policy evaluation process, with meaningful engagement from all stakeholders, would ensure that we learn from our successes and from our mistakes. Such a process would ensure that we evaluate both and offer a framework to take our policy successes and replicate them across Government.  Social Justice Ireland believes strongly in the importance of developing a rights-based approach to social, economic, and cultural policy.  A key policy measure to deliver an open and transparent policy evaluation process is to measure the socio-economic impact of each budget.  This should be a statutory responsibility for Government.

Family poverty remains one of the largest determinants of educational outcomes in Ireland.  The benefits of investing in education, to the individual, to the economy and to society, far outweigh any initial outlay of resources.  Read Social Justice Ireland's Election Briefing on Education for an outline of a number of key challenges and some policy proposals that should be in the next Programme for Government.

The Government's over-use of the so-called 'money message veto' is undemocratic and is a mis-use of the Constitution. Politicians must distinguish fairly between bills whose primary purpose is to spend money and those which merely include some measure of indirect expenditure at the initial implementation stage.

Our 2019 Social Policy Conference was titled "The Challenges of Success" and looked at the appropriate policy responses to Ireland's changing demographics.
Click here to download slides and papers from the conference, watch videos of the presentations, see our handy summary graphics, or download the entire conference booklet for free.

If we really value caring then we must begin to implement policies that support the men and women across the country who provide unpaid care every day and every week throughout the year.  

What are the latest data and trends on poverty in Ireland and why is life on a low income the norm for a large proportion of our society?  Social Justice Ireland’s annual Poverty Focus examines the nature and experience of poverty in Ireland and sets out a series of policy solutions. 

In this Spring 2019 publication of our National Social Monitor - European Edition, we outline the present situation on a range of policy issues, comparing Ireland and the rest of Europe, that impact on people’s wellbeing and we assess whether policy is addressing the causes of problems or only their symptoms.   All these issues have implications for Ireland’s economy and how the market performs. However, they also have implications for the wellbeing of all of Europe’s population and for the EU. 


At such an uncertain time, domestically and globally, the government needs to make a centralised commitment to lift our most vulnerable out of poverty and to prevent any more people from falling into poverty. 

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