In 2019, the year in which we had a smidgen short of 78,000 millionaires, nine billionaires, and a handful of people earning more than the country, Social Justice Ireland estimated that approximately one full-time worker in five in the Republic earned less than the Living Wage. That is, in the second richest country in the world (IMF), 20 percent of our full-time labour force earned less than what it would cost to achieve an acceptable standard of living.
Our democracy is broken and it’s time we did something about it. Self-governing republican freedom is shared among equal citizens, and so is the responsibility for maintaining it. That requires active participation from us all, individually and collectively, taking responsibility for the state we’re in. 10-minute read.
In 1983, a two-to-one majority voted for the Eighth Amendment, banning abortion for all time and the Supreme Court ruled that laws criminalising homosexuality supported the ‘Christian nature of the Irish State’. But by 2018, we had legalised same-sex marriage and repealed the Eighth. What happened? 12-minute read.
Two recent studies asked students whether the skills taught in their Leaving Cert courses prepared them for third-level study. An overwhelming majority said ‘No’, that they had not learned the intellectual skills they would need to succeed. 8 minute read.
Drunken, brawling, criminal, lazy, as thick as two short planks nailed together, and not wanted over here—that’s what ‘everybody knew’ about the average Mick when I was growing up in England. Creating a racist stereotype doesn’t need any basis in fact, just an ugly image repeated often enough. (10 minute read.)
French economist Thomas Piketty argues that, contrary to what we are constantly told about job creation and trickle-down riches, the ultra-rich are harmful to the general economy. When the number of US billionaires exploded in the 1990s and 2000s, per capita income growth halved from 2.2% to 1.1%. (8-minute read.)
What is the Senate good for? Ideally, in a bicameral legislature, each house acts as a check and/or balance to the other. In our case, however, there is no check, given that the balance is well and truly tipped in favour of the Government of the day. The result is a redundant Senate and a dictatorship of the Dáil.
More equality is better for everybody, including the economy.Social Justice Ireland Right-wing governments are predictably reluctant to impose a wealth tax on their friends. But in a time of multiple crises—not just the coronavirus and its effect on the economy, but also the perennial favourites in health, housing, climate action, and so on—there’s nothing to be gained by endlessly cutting the national cake into ever thinner slices in an attempt to make it stretch further. We’ve been determinedly doing that for four neo-liberal decades, refusing to admit that the national budget isn’t St Brigid’s cloak[i]. And look how well it’s working. In the second richest country in the world (according to the International Monetary Fund), Social Justice Ireland estimates that approximately one-in-five full-time workers is earning less than the Living Wage—the average gross salary that will enable an adult in full-time employment to afford a socially acceptable standard of living based on needs, not wants. One child in five is living in a family with an income below the poverty line. One in four is living in a household experiencing deprivation of two or more basic necessities. And 110,000 children are surviving consistent poverty, both living below the poverty line and with persistent deprivation of basic necessities. These stark figures present very serious policy implications for Ireland, not least for the success of these children within the education system, their job prospects in the future and for Ireland’s economic potential in the long-term. How long more can we afford to ignore these children and their living standards? (Poverty Focus 2019) There are one million people on healthcare lists waiting for treatment for months and sometimes for years. There are upwards of 70,000 families waiting up to 12 years for housing. Focus Ireland report that eight and a half thousand homeless […]
Let’s be clear, homelessness is a policy-driven crisis. Bedrock Fine Gael ideology does not want government in the business of building public housing, because it interferes with the free market. The ‘logic’ is that, without government interference, supply-and-demand in a free marketplace will solve the problem. Except that it hasn’t.