- Ireland must avoid a repetition of the boom to bust sequences that have characterised economic cycles in the past.
- A shared commitment is needed to building a fairer future that prioritises the well-being of this and future generations.
- Building a fairer future requires an integrated approach to five key policy areas i.e. macroeconomic stability, just taxation, social protection, governance and sustainability.
- Tackling debt, poverty, services and governance should be the priorities in the years immediately ahead.
Social Justice Ireland advances the lives of people and communities through providing independent social analysis and effective policy development to create a sustainable future for every member of society and for societies as a whole. We work to build a just society through developing and delivering credible analysis and policy to improve society and the lives of people. We identify sustainable options for the future and provide viable pathways forward. In all of this we focus on human rights and the common good.
All politicians need to recognise that a rising tide won’t lift all boats
More than three quarters of a million people are in poverty in Ireland - an indictment of Government policy
- 756,591 people are living in poverty in Ireland according to the latest CSO statistics published today..
- Even though the poverty line fell by 15% since 2008, the proportion of Ireland's population below this lower poverty line has risen by 15% during the same period.
- 68,740 of those over 65 are in poverty (up from 9.7% to 12.1% in a single year).
- 220,411 children (18.8%) still live in poverty (proportion unchanged since last year).
- Since the crash the proportion of people in consistent poverty has risen by 83%. (4.2% of the population were in this situation in 2008 compared to 7.7% according to the new study).
New Report on Rural Ireland Published
The Commission for the Econonomic Development of Rural Areas has just published a report on Rural Ireland entitled 'Energising Ireland's Rural Economy'.
New 7-country study shows EU policies continue to produce rising poverty and unemployment
A new study produced by Social Justice Ireland for Caritas Europa reveals disturbing levels of poverty and deprivation in the seven EU countries worst affected by the economic crisis: Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Spain.
The prioritisation by the EU and its Member States of economic policies at the expense of social policies during the current crisis is having a devastating impact on people, especially in the seven countries worst hit.
Minister’s decision to establish Public Participation Networks welcomed
Social Justice Ireland welcomes the decision by Minister Phil Hogan TD to establish Public Participation Networks (PPNs) in every local authority area as proposed by the working group. These PPNs are to form part of the new structures for the engagement of local people and organisations at county and municipal level.
Ireland's scandalous corporate tax regime exposed AGAIN - New approach required
A story in The Irish Times (March 7, 2014) shows that Apple paid €36m tax on $7.11bn profits at its Irish unit. This is a scandal that must be addressed now by the Irish Government. Social Justice Ireland sets out some proposals below.
Government Tax Proposals could give €922 a year to a person earning €125,000 while giving NOTHING to those earning below €32,800
Government’s tax proposals should be rejected because they would give all the benefit to those earning over €32,800 while giving nothing to those earning less than that amount according to a new study by Social Justice Ireland. This study shows that single people earning €125,000 could gain up to €922 (depending on how Government implemented its own proposals) while those earning less thatn €32,800 would gain nothing.
Working Group recommends People's Participation Networks be established in every Local Authority
Government has published the report of the working group on citizen engagement with local government, which recommends that a People’s Participation Network, (PPN) be established in every Local Authority area to ensure extensive input by citizens into the decision-making process at local government level.
European Parliament Committee raises serious questions concerning Troika's engagement with Ireland's bailout
Social Justice Ireland welcomes the fact that the European Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs:
- Considers that too little attention has been given to alleviating the negative economic and social impact of adjustment strategies in the Bailout countries such as Ireland. and
- That too often the one-size fits all approach taken to crisis management by the Troika did not fully consider the balance in the economic and social impact of the prescribed policy measures.
These were two key points that had been presented regularly to the Troika by Social Justice Ireland in our meetings during the bailout years.
Building a Just Society should be at the core of all Government programmes
783 million people live without clean water, 2.5 billion have no adequate sanitation and 1.4 billion people are without access to electricity in our world today. This is a profoundly unjust situation. In the EU there are 124.5 million people at risk of poverty or social exclusion. In Ireland 16% of the population is at risk of poverty and one in every five children lives in a poor household. On UN World Day for Social Justice (February 20, 2014) it is important to remind ourselves of these facts and of so many more similar facts that show in graphic detail how unjust our world is.
What Future for Ireland and Europe?
Both Ireland and the European Union are at a moment of transition. It is very important in this context that we consider what sort of future we would like to see for Ireland and Europe. With this in mind Social Justice Ireland asked a number of speakers at SPC 2013 about what kind of future they foresee for Ireland and Europe. The interviews are available to view below.
Income tax bands should not be changed in the next Budget – benefit would only go to the better off
Social Justice Ireland challenges the Minister for Finance’s proposal that the tax band ceiling of €32,800 should be raised. Changing the tax bands in the next Budget would only benefit those who are better off, not those earning low incomes.
Perspectives on Fiscal Challenges Facing Ireland - SPC 2013
Robert Watt, Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform presented a paper examining the fiscal challenges facing Ireland at the Social Justice Ireland Social Policy Conference 2013. The paper addressed State expenditure, new fiscal rules and sustaining social cohesion.
Social developments in Ireland at the time of fiscal consolidation - SPC 2013
Isvtán P. Svékely, European Commission DG for Economic and Financial Affairs, presented a paper at the Social Policy Conference 2013 which examined social developments in Ireland at the time of fiscal consolidation. The paper explored social indicators and challenges ahead. It was co-authored by Miroslav Florián.
Hope in the Face of Disaster - SPC 2013
John Sharry presented a paper at Social Justice Ireland's 2013 Social Policy Conference entitled Hope in the Face of Disaster – Creating a sustainable, viable path for future civilisation’. The paper examines resource shortage economic instability, climate change and constructive responses to these challenges.
Purchase: What Would REAL Recovery Look Like?
For €15 (including packaging and posatge) you can purchase Social Justice Ireland's annual Socio-Economic Review for 2013 entitled: What Would REAL Recovery Look Like?
Purchase 'Does the European Social Model Have a Future?'
Purchase 'Does the European Social Model Have a Future? Challenges and Responses 70 Years after the Beveridge Report' here for €15 (including packaging and postage).
Purchase 'Building a Fairer Tax System - The Working Poor and the Cost of Refundable Tax Credits'
Purchase 'The Future of the Welfare State'
You can purchase Social Justice Ireland's publication on The Future of the Welfare State for €15 (including packaging and postge).
What Future for the Regions? - SPC 2013
Dr Patricia O’Hara presented a paper at Social Justice Ireland's Social Policy Conference 2013 entitled ‘What Future for the Regions?’ The paper examines the regions during the boom and after the collapse and policy options for the future.
OECD publishes Base Erosion Profit Shifting Update for 2014
The OECD has just released an update on the 2014 deliverables of the Action Plan on Base Erosion Profit Shifting (BEPS).
21st Century European Social Investment Imperatives - SPC 2013
Professor Anton Hemerijck presented a paper at Social Justice Ireland's Social Policy Conference 2013 entitled ‘21st Century European Social Investment Imperatives’. The paper examines the possibility of a New Deal in Europe and the economics of Social Investment.
'Economic Foundations of Social Progress' - Presentation SPC 2013
Professor Seán Ó Rian presented a paper at Social Justice Ireland's 2013 Social Policy Conference entitled 'Economic Foundations of Social Progress - Ireland through a Nordic Lens'. The paper examines social protection, employment, finance and institutional transformation from an Irish and a European perspective.
Social Justice Ireland briefs European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Committee
- The austerity approach followed by the Troika in Ireland and other bailout countries had an unsound academic basis, was a failure in practice, and was morally unethical because poor and middle-income people have borne an unfair share of its consequences.
- While taking a draconian approach to public finances the European Commission has failed to introduce sufficiently rigorous regulation of the financial sector.
- All future Troika Bailout programmes should be bound by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the Treaties.
'Towards a Social Europe' - Presentation from SPC 2013
Dr Brigitte Unger director of the WSI (Economic and Social Institute) presented a paper at Social Justice Ireland’s Social Policy Conference 2013 entitled ‘Towards a Social Europe’. It addresses the threats to social policies after the financial crisis, models for a Social Europe and specific suggestions for creating a Social Europe.
More than 285,000 people call on EU to consider Basic Income
285,042 EU citizens have called on the European Commission to consider a Universal Basic Income (UBI) as a fairer and simpler social security system. Each of these citizens signed The European Citizens Initiative (ECI)1 for Unconditional Basic Income (UBI).2 The collection of signatures officially ended on Tuesday January 14th 23.59pm.
'A Future Worth Living For' - Presentations
The presentations made at Social Justice Ireland's Social Policy Conference 2013 are available online here and will be updated over the coming weeks.
Government should reject all proposals for Social Dialogue that excludes major parts of society
- Any proposal for social dialogue involving trade unions and employers only, and excluding large parts of society should be rejected.
- Such a process would result in the available resources being divided between business and some employees with all others depending on the crumbs that are left over.
- All stakeholders, including the Community and Voluntary Sector should be included in any process of social dialogue developed by Government.
- The poorest 10% of society lost most since the onset of the crisis. They must not be excluded from any social dialogue process that Government develops.
2014 - time to end short-termism
There are two questions concerning Ireland in 2014 and beyond that are not being addressed in a satisfactory manner at present i.e.
- What would real recovery look like?
- Is the pathway currently being travelled likely to produce such a recovery?