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Over 60 organisations call for a "Just Recovery" on eve of National Economic Dialogue

28 Jun 2021

For immediate release
Sunday 27 June 2021

60+ organisations call for a ‘Just Recovery’ on eve of National Economic Dialogue

 

On the eve of the National Economic Dialogue between the Government and social partners, civil society organizations have laid out Six Principles for a Just Recovery from Covid-19 [1] and have called for the Government’s Budget planning to be based on these principles. Many of the groups backing the call will be participating in the annual dialogue with Cabinet ministers over two days on Monday and Tuesday this week.

The principles were developed by civil society as part of A Shared Vision for a Just Recovery, and sent to Government leaders as they prepared the recent Economic Recovery Plan and the draft National Recovery and Resilience Plan. Budget 2022 is the first real test for the Government to deliver on its rhetoric to “build back better”. The headline principles are as follows:

  1. Protect and invest in public services, prioritising public health and wellbeing
  2. Invest in people
  3. Deliver faster and fairer climate action and restore and protect nature
  4. Build solidarity and community across borders
  5. Ensure inclusive and participatory decision-making
  6. Redefine progress through a focus on wellbeing and sustainable development

Oisín Coghlan, Director of Friends of the Earth said:

“The coronavirus pandemic has exposed not only major weaknesses in Ireland’s economy and health services but also deep-seated inequalities. We want this year's Budget to prioritise investment which supports an open, fair, equal and healthy society, flourishing within ecological limits. We are calling on the Government to base their budgetary decision on these six principles for a Just Recovery.”

Bríd O’Brien, Head of Policy and Media, Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed said:

“This year's Budget must prioritise the health and wellbeing of everyone in Ireland, now and into the future, by sustainably supporting better public services to reverse existing inequalities, ensure everyone can have an adequate income and secure the needs of all.”

Paul Ginnell, Director of the European Anti-Poverty Network, said:

“This year's Budget must begin with investing in those who have been left behind, particularly to tackle the root causes of homelessness and poverty, including child poverty . The Budget must systematically prioritise investment which supports marginalised communities and groups. It is important that the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights are respected in this regard.”

Yvonne O’Callaghan of SIPTU said:

“A Just Recovery means guaranteeing the right to collective bargaining and strengthening workplace democracy. It requires a new social contract and a rights-based approach as we recover from the COVID-19 crisis that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient. The Budget must support a Just Transition for the workers and communities most impacted by the move to a zero pollution future, and must ensure that decent work is at the heart of Ireland’s employment policies and implementation to ensure the reversal of the dramatic inequalities that have been exposed during the crisis.”

Issy Petrie, Research and Policy Officer, The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul said:

“A key risk is that budget planning does not ensure that those most at risk of poverty or furthest behind are actively involved in planning and investment decisions. It is essential that impacted communities and marginalised groups are given the opportunity to provide input on measures and funding decisions, both in terms of their planning and final delivery at local level.”

Sadhbh O'Neill, Policy Coordinator, Stop Climate Chaos coalition, said:
“Regarding climate measures, this year's Budget should, as a minimum, support climate and environmental commitments under the Programme for Government. In particular, it must fully align with the Programme for Government commitment to an average 7% annual reduction in emissions and - soon to be introduced- legally-binding 5-year carbon budgets. This should front-load investment in essential infrastructure, such as renewables and grid improvements, to aid Ireland’s rapid decarbonisation. Spending on fossil fuel infrastructure should be explicitly excluded.”

Oonagh Duggan, Head of Advocacy, BirdWatch Ireland said:
“Budget planning should prioritise investment and reforms in support of nature-based solutions as an important resilience measure for rural areas, as well as action on climate and biodiversity. Consideration should be given to accelerated restoration of raised bogs, at risk habitats, including coastal areas and nature reserves. It is critical that staffing and funding of the National Parks and Wildlife Service is significantly ramped up in the next budget so that Ireland has the best chance to address the biodiversity and climate crises”.

Jerry Mac Evilly, Head of Policy, Friends of the Earth said:
The COVID-19 pandemic is undermining progress made towards the Sustainable Development Goals both in Ireland and globally. This year's budget must reverse this trend. The Sustainable Development Goals must be a core guiding framework, with SDG targets and indicators actively built into the ongoing design and assessment of budget priorities and investments.

ENDS

Notes

  1. In 2020, a broad range of civil society organisations collaborated to produce “A Shared Vision for a Just Recovery”. The landmark joint statement endorsed by 14 national coalitions and more than 50 organisations from all sectors of Irish civil society, from trade unions to women’s and youth advocates, to community and homelessness organizations. The joint statement sets out the steps necessary for a fair and sustainable recovery from the social and economic shock of the Covid-19 pandemic in the context of these 6 principles.

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