A Fairer Future requires A New Social Dialogue Building a Better Future Social Justice Ireland’s Annual Social Policy Conference
“Ireland, and indeed the planet, face several crises ranging from pandemic to pollution to poverty; a situation where ‘business as usual’ can mean only social and environmental catastrophe. We have reached a point where adoption of a new Social Contract is surely a necessity. All sectors of Irish society should be engaged in an ongoing Social Dialogue to decide how best to proceed” –stated Dr Seán Healy, in his opening address to Social Justice Ireland’s annual policy conference today (Wednesday, 18th November).
Social fairness and solidarity vital to European recovery
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’.
Building a New Social Contract - this time no-one must be left behind
The National Economic Plan - to be published on Budget day - must give equal weight to environmental, social and economic considerations. Otherwise, this Government will simply repeat the mistakes of the past and many will be left behind. The National Economic Plan must be underpinned by a new social contract that treats our environment, society and economy equally
Conference Proceedings: A New Social Contract, A New Social Dialogue: Building a Better Future
On Wednesday, 18th November 2020 Social Justice Ireland held its Annual Social Policy Conference entitled A New Social Contract, A New Social Dialogue: Building a Better Future. This conference featured presentations by national and international experts as well as a panel discussion with representatives of the five pillars of Social Partnership. All presentations given on the day are contained within this book of conference proceedings.
Increase in Financial Distress likely post-COVID-19
Over one million people were in receipt of COVID-19-related income supports as of May this year. 584,641 were in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and 473,500 people had availed of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS). These numbers have been decreasing as the economy slowly starts to open again, those who needed to avail of loan repayment breaks and rent freezes will face likely financial distress.
Programme for Government misses opportunity for pension reform
The current State Pension system deprives many people who have spent their lives in caring roles of financial security in their old age. These are people society should be rewarding, not penalising. With the new Programme for Government committing to the proposed Auto Enrolment Plan, an opportunity to increase the fairness of the Irish pension system is being missed, and at a substantial financial cost.
Reaction to draft Programme for Government
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.
Measuring the socio-economic impact of Government policies
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.